Ashok Chakra awardee faces probe in kidnap, murder case

Ashok Chakra awardee Major D Sreeram Kumar, who was earlier named in a fake encounter case by a judicial commission appointed by the Supreme Court, has now been called for questioning in a 2009 case related to the kidnapping and murder of a local contractor, Yengkhom Krishnadas.

According to Manipur Police officials, Kumar has been named as an accomplice by five accused persons in the case. The Manipur Police have asked Kumar's then unit — 39 Assam Rifles — to hand him over for questioning.

Kumar is one of only two serving Ashok Chakra awardees of the Army and is now posted at a training institution. The Ashok Chakra is the nation's highest peacetime gallantry medal.

The incident dates back to June 10, 2009, when Krishnadas, a contractor from Kakching in Thoubal district, was reportedly "abducted" by five armed men from his in-laws' residence in Imphal. Two days later, he was found dead. Krishnadas is survived by his wife, Y Ongbi K Bimola, and his seven-year-old daughter Yengkhom Krishbeena.

Bimola claimed that on June 10, she had spotted a white Maruti van with four-five men, parked near their house, in the evening. At about 10 pm, a group of armed men reportedly barged into their house and dragged out Krishnadas.

"The next morning, I received a call demanding a ransom of Rs 2 crore. After negotiating, we brought down the ransom to Rs 25 lakh. I was told to hand over the money to a woman who would meet me near Tehra in Imphal,'' said Bimola.

She handed over the money, but Krishnadas was found dead in Thoubal on June 12. According to the autopsy report, his body had multiple cuts caused by a sharp weapon.

The same day, the Manipur Police arrested Seram Ashalata, the woman who collected the ransom money from Bimola. She claimed her accomplice was Nando, who was then in jail for the kidnapping and murder of the daughter of former Education Minister Francis Ngajokpa.Nando named another jailed inmate, Laishram Gunamani, and four others — Mujibur Rahman, Md Islamuddin, Md Atao and one Vicky. While the other three were arrested earlier, Wangkheimayum Boy alias Vicky, was nabbed in February this year. Vicky was reportedly arrested earlier also on charges of being a member of an underground outfit.

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