A cop, four civilians and a local gun-runner have been arrested for stealing weapons from the armoury of the Nagaland Police and transferring it to people in Manipur, where months of ethnic clashes have left at least 160 dead.
They are accused of stealing thousands of rounds of ammunition to be used in INSAS automatic rifles and in self-loading rifles. The ammunition was being stolen from a central store in Chu-Mou-Kedia.
The police inspector, identified as Michael Yanthan, was allegedly paid Rs 4.25 lakh to acquire the ammunition.
“The inspector who was in charge of the store acted in his personal capacity by stealing the weapons and ammunition. No angle of conspiracy has been found. The police are monitoring the situation very closely and have established the money trail. It was meant to be sold to people in Manipur,” said Rupin Sharma, Director General of Police, Nagaland.
The cops, say sources, got a tip off on July 9 and the very next day were able to seize 2,500 rounds of live ammunition from a car and arrest two people.
The arrested men have told cops about the involvement of a leader of an armed rebel group, who in turn led to another middleman and finally to the Nagaland police inspector who was in charge of the armoury, the source told NDTV.
This is not the first time that it has happened.
Ten years ago, an NDTV investigation revealed how parts of Nagaland particularly Dimapur had been a hub of illegal weapons sales and supplied across the northeast.
Raids on armouries across Manipur have meant that security forces in the state continue to battle extremists who have stolen sophisticated automatic rifles and a large stock of ammunition.
Over 70 days into the crisis in Manipur, the presence of these weapons and active shooters makes the situation extremely volatile.
On May 3, violence erupted between the two communities job quotas and land rights, and intermittent clashes have continued since.