The National Investigation Agency has recovered six more of the 56 pistols that went missing from the armoury of the 2nd Battalion of the Manipur Rifles during 2016-17 only to land in the hands of extremists.The recovery of the pistols on Saturday from a place 20 km from Manipur capital Imphal followed NIA’s arrest of Congress MLA Yamthong Haokip, 72, on charges of illegally “procuring” police weapons and distributing them among militant groups “to wage war against the State”.20 recovered so farThe NIA has so far recovered 20 of the missing pistols since taking over investigation into the missing arms case in May. The trigger for the probe was the recovery of three pistols besides two German-made rifles and a semi-automatic shotgun from an SUV near Manipur’s Ukhrul town on May 21 during a search by the Assam Rifles.An NIA spokesperson said David Hangshing, the chairman of the extremist Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) who was arrested on Friday, had provided the address of the place were the six 9mm pistols had been hidden. The KRA is in an agreement of suspension of operations with the government.“During interrogation, he said he had received the police pistols from Saikul (Assembly seat) MLA Haokip,” he said.Matching numbersThe seized pistols were found to be from the lot of missing pistols. The serial numbers of five pistols matched with those of the missing pistols while that of one pistol had been erased, the spokesperson said.Hanshing was on Saturday produced before a magistrate, who remanded him to police custody. He will now be produced before a special NIA court.Mr. Haokip is one of 11 persons arrested in connection with the case of the missing police pistols. One of these pistols, bearing licence number 18506735, was seized from his Imphal residence during a raid on July 30.Two other pistols – a U.S.-made Beretta and an unlicensed 9mm Pietro Beretta Gardone pistol, made in Italy – were also seized from Mr. Haokip’s residence.Investigations revealed that apart from KRA, some of the 9mm police pistols reached United Kuki Liberation Front, another Manipur-based extremist outfit. Nine of these pistols were recovered from the house of this group’s chief Soson Haokip in Imphal on Thursday.
The Maharashtra unit of Congress has recommended names of probable candidates for 26 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State, proposing only one name each in seven of the seats. Milind Deora (Mumbai South), Sushil Kumar Shinde (Solapur), Charulata Tokas (Wardha), Mukul Wasnik (Ramtek), Rajeev Satav (Hingoli), Manikrao Thakre (Yavatmal) and Amita Chavan (Nanded) have no competitors in their respective constituencies. The recommendations will now be presented to the all-India screening committee for final approval, and the candidates will be confirmed at the highest level.On Tuesday, the State Congress held a meeting to discuss names suggested from district committees for 26 of the 48 constituencies in Maharashtra. According to sources, the party will not contest more than 26 seats in the State. State Congress president Ashok Chavan, who currently represents Nanded in the Lok Sabha, seems to have decided not to seek re-election and instead concentrate on State politics. His wife, MLA Amita Chavan, is the proposed candidate for the constituency.The party has also recommended Abhay Chhajed and Mohan Joshi in Pune, Vishal Patil, Prithviraj Patil and Mohan Kadam in Sangli, and Utkarsha Rupawate, Bhausaheb Kamble and Raju Waghmare in Shirdi. All constituencies have three or more interested candidates. In Mumbai, Mr. Deora is the only name sent to Delhi from Mumbai South, while a number of individuals have shown interest in contesting from Mumbai North West, including Suresh Shetty, Kripashankar Singh and Sanjay Nirupam. Mr. Nirupam had won the election from Mumbai North in 2009, and lost in 2014. His plan to contest a different seat hasn’t gone down too well within the party ranks. While Priya Dutt declining to contest from Mumbai North Central, the local leadership has suggested her name along with that of Nagma, Hussain Dalwai and Baba Siddiqui. From Mumbai South Central, Eknath Gaikwad, Bhalchandra Munagekar or Uttam Khobragade might contest the election.
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