Thounaojam Brinda, a lady officer of Manipur Police had alleged that the Chief Minister N Biren Singh and the top cops had "pressured" her to release an arrested drug lord.
In an affidavit, Brinda stated how she was forced by the authorities to release Lhukhosei Zhou, the alleged drug lord who was then working as chairman of the Autonomous District Council (ADC), Chandel.
Brinda is facing a contempt case for her "offensive" remarks on Facebook allegedly criticising the judiciary after Zhou was given bail by the court of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
She said that her remarks were not aimed at interfering with the course of justice, but was a "fair criticism on the conduct and character of the judicial officer/individual who was acting as a Judge but who did not have respect for the chair".
Narrating the incident, the cop said that on the night of June 19, 2018, the sleuths of Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB), led by her, had arrested the drug lord and seven others. The police had seized 4.595 kg of heroin, 2,80,200 "World is Yours" tablet, Rs 57.18 lakh in cash, another Rs 95,000 old currency notes.
Soon after the arrests, Brinda received a WhatsApp call from one Moirangthem Asnikumar, a vice-president of the state BJP, who asked her to speak to the CM over the phone.
"I informed the CM that we were about to search the house of an ADC member as we suspected drugs were stashed in his quarters. The CM lauded and told me to go ahead and arrest the ADC member if drugs were found in his quarters," Brinda said.
Even as the seizure was on, Zhou had constantly urged the cop to come to a compromise, but she refused.
"After the drugs were found at his quarters, he asked me to allow him to call the Director General of Police (DGP) and the CM which I did not permit. Then Asnikumar came to my residence...He was in a serious mood...He told me that the arrested ADC member turned out to be the right-hand man of CM's wife Olice in Chandel and that Olice was furious about the arrest. He told me that CM had ordered that Zhou be exchanged with his wife or son and to release him. I told him how that is possible as the drugs were seized from him and not his wife or son. I told Asnikumar I cannot release the man and thereafter, he left," Brinda wrote in the affidavit.
Asnikumar visited her again to mentioned that the CM and his wife were extremely furious about her refusal to release the man and ordered her again to let him off.
"I told him I will not release Zhou and let the investigation and court decide the culpability of the ADC chairman… There were over 150 personnel present in the entire operation along with independent witnesses. I asked how I will answer the whole team and the public…I said I do not need this job and I came back to this service at the request of New Delhi on the promise that I would be supported in the works I do and can leave the job anytime if I am not satisfied (this was agreed between the parties). Thus, this attempt of the CM is to finish my career at the nip by destroying my credibility for his wife's political interest. I will not release the man," Brinda wrote in the affidavit.
"The DGP enquired about the chargesheet of the case. I told him that it had reached the court. He told us that the honourable CM wants the chargesheet removed from the court. I told the DG that it is not possible as the chargesheet is already in the court" the affidavit reads.
The next day, the CM had called the lady officer and other police officers to his bungalow in the morning. "There he scolded me saying 'Is this why I gave you gallantry medal. There is something called official secrecy act also'. The CM gave a thorough scolding especially directed at the SPP and me. I still do not understand why we were reprimanded for dutifully discharging our lawful duty to this day," Brinda wrote.
Brinda is a decorated officer of Manipur Police Service. In 2018, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry had awarded the police officer for her outstanding performance in busting several drug rackets.
She is also a recipient of the Gallantry Medal and the Chief Minister's Commendation Certificate.