CBI arrested key accused in Meitei students murder case

Debjit Mukherjee: The CBI has arrested a key accused in connection with the kidnapping and murder of two Meitei students who had gone missing in Manipur this July. Their bodies are yet to be found.

Paolunmang (22) was tracked down to Pune, arrested, and then produced before a special court in Guwahati. The CBI has secured his custody till October 16 for interrogation, said an official.

On October 1, the agency had arrested two men — Paominlun Haokip and S. Malsawm Haokip — and two women — Lhingneichong Baite and Tinneilhing Henthang — in coordination with the local police, for their alleged involvement in the case.

The students had gone missing near Bishnupur on July 6. Photos of their bodies surfaced on social media on September 25, sparking of protests, days after mobile Internet was restored in the State. In one photo, the two friends were seen sitting next to each other, with armed men in the background. In another photo, their bodies were seen lying near a rock.

The same day, the State government issued a statement that the police were probing the case in collaboration with Central security agencies. The investigation was then handed over to the CBI, following which a team led by the agency’s Special Director, Ajay Bhatnagar, went to Manipur.