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Retired HNLC leader used extortion money to plan blasts: Police

‘Pseudonymous’ letter on Cherish killing irks DGP’s office  

Shillong, Sept 27: The police on Monday claimed that the former general secretary of HNLC, Cherishstarfield Thangkhiew used extortion money to carry out blasts in the city.

The office of the Director General of Police, has also taken exception to media reports based on a ‘pseudonymous’ letter linking senior police officers with the killing of Thangkhiew, on August 13.

The letter purportedly written by three retired policemen to the brother of Cherish had said two senior IPS officers Jagpal Singh Dhanoa and Shailendra Bamaniya had gone to kill Thangkhiew   without any evidence on the order of DGP R. Chandranathan and IGP (Law and Order) Mukesh Kumar Singh.

In a statement on Monday, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (A), GK Iangrai said the police are open for transparent and fair investigation into the incident on August 13.

The former cops had also claimed that there are many pending cases against the DGP when he had served in Assam, besides stating that the IGP (Law and Order) was responsible for the alleged murder of Fullmoon Dhar.

In response, the police said the statements were published without any verification of facts and without seeking the response of the department, especially in a matter having implications on public faith and trust in the actions taken by the police.

“A simple verification of these facts would establish that the police action dated 13.08.2021 was undertaken for the immediate arrest of   Cherishstarfield Thangkhiew which was necessitated in view of incontrovertible evidence of his involvement in the IED explosion at Khliehriat police reserve on 14.07.2021 and also credible information received between 10th to 12th August 2021, regarding his involvement in conspiracy for conducting another IED explosion on 13.08.2021 in heavily populated areas in Shillong which, if not prevented, would have led to huge loss of life and destruction of public property”, the statement said.

The police said the role of Thangkhiew had also been unearthed in the extortion demands received by MDCs and prominent businessmen, the evidence available pointed to modus operandi of Thangkhiew of undertaking extortion demands and using money received for financing IED explosions at the behest of HNLC under the cover of being a ‘retired’ HNLC operative.

 

Blood marks on the floor of the room where Cherishstarfield was killed

“The police action was aimed at the swift arrest of Thangkhiew so as to interrogate him regarding the planned location of the next IED explosion. In these circumstances, neither was it possible, necessary or advisable for the police to serve a notice upon  Cheristerfield Thangkhiew. Infact, it was necessary to undertake the operation for his arrest in covert manner so as to not provide any opportunity to Thangkhiew to destroy evidence and/or abscond. The decision for his arrest was taken at the highest level in consultation with all senior officers of the department and after evaluation of all options and was considered necessary to prevent large scale loss of life in further IED explosions”, the statement said.

According to the office of the DGP, terming the death of Thangkhiew as ‘killing on the orders of the police’ is complete falsehood. “The death was caused due to non-cooperation of Thangkhiew with the police team and clear attempt on his part to assault and cause fatal injury to a member of the police team, and the resultant firing of single shot by police personnel, purely in self-defense, the statement added.

The successful arrest of Thangkhiew would have aided the effort of the police in bringing the active cadres of the HNLC overground and therefore arrest was the sole objective of the police action on August 13, the statement added.

“By publishing unverified allegation made by some persons, the newspapers have also attempted to bring disrepute and tarnish the reputation of the police force and in particular of officers who are not native to Meghalaya”, the statement said.

According to the police, the publication is also illegal and in violation of Press Council Norms of Journalistic Conduct, (2010 Edition), Guideline No. 10 which requires newspapers to eschew suggestive guilt and to not project or promote the case of any one party in the case of any controversy or dispute.

“The manner in which leading newspapers are publishing unverified facts and conspiracy theories, promoting ill-will and animosity in the public against bona-fide actions of the police force taken to protect the lives of innocent public is an abuse of press freedom. Such publication is malicious and tantamount to inflammatory publication against the police force and neither constitutes fair comment nor falls within the corners of journalistic freedom”, it said.

The police said it is duty bound to cause inquiry into the events of August 13 as per the law laid down by the Supreme Court and has also joined the proceedings before the  Commission constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 and will  take all such measures as may be directed by the competent courts of law.

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