Cop’s death: Coal lobby’s hand suspected

SHILLONG: Several questions are being raised on the unnatural death of Sub Inspector  P J Marbaniang, the officer  in charge of Patharkhmah police outpost, but  the indications are that illegal transportation of coal is closely linked to the death of the police officer.
According to informed sources, following the NGT ban on coal mining and the  subsequent decision for transportation of assessed and mined coal for a period of three months, the less travelled road of Mairang-Patharkhmah-Jirang-Beltola was virtually converted into a national highway as hundreds of coal laden trucks passed through the road especially at night for the past several weeks with the knowledge of the police, a senior government official and NGOs.
While the people of the villages along the route had to bear the noise of coal laden trucks moving throughout the night, they were helpless as a senior government official, the police, and some influential leaders of NGOs were hand in glove and engaged in collecting entry fees from the trucks and allowed them to pass through without any interference from any quarters, the sources divulged.
However, a group of law abiding citizens from Sohkyrbam village were furious over the alleged illegal collection of money by the people at the helm of affairs. They were particularly against one NGO leader from the village who earned thousands of rupees in a single night, sources added.
On the night of January 23, the Sohkyrbam villagers decided to put an end to the illegal act, and they stopped the coal laden trucks numbering around 32. After taking   photographs of the trucks and registration numbers, they were forwarded to DC and SP, Ri Bhoi district and also to other higher ups, sources said.
Following the revelation of illegal transportation of coal, the DC ordered the SP to detain the trucks and take appropriate legal action.
The SP in turn directed late  Marbaniang  to detain the trucks and the order was carried out by him.
The sources revealed that on the morning of January 24, the truckers came to Patharkhmah out post and questioned Marbaniang as to why he detained the trucks when he gave them the green signal to proceed.
However, Marbaniang denied ever giving any nod for the trucks to proceed.
The truckers pointed out that since it was his staff who gave the permission, they thought that the direction came from the OC. Later Marbaniang told the truckers that he cannot intervene.
Subsequently, a prominent NGO leader approached Marbaniang requesting him to release the trucks, but the latter told him it was upto the SP, sources said.
The NGO leader then approached the SP who also denied him any help by saying that the matter has gone to the higher ups.
Sources alleged that there were three constables of Patharkhmah outpost who were engaged in collection of money and used the official vehicle for the purpose.  Questioning the constables is crucial as it will lead to credible clues, according to sources.
The shady matter of illegal transportation of coal needs to be properly investigated as this will be the key to unlock the mystery behind the death of the police officer, sources added.
The manner in which Marbaniang died is mysterious as according to Patharkhmah CHC, the entry wound was at the back of the head of Marbaniang while the exit wound was at the forehead which contradicts the preliminary report of the post mortem carried out by the doctor who had stated that the entry wound was at the forehead and the exit wound was at the back of the head.
No mention of suicide
The doctor who conducted the post mortem of the sub-inspector at  Nongpoh Civil Hospital said that he never mentioned in his report that it was a suicide case.
Dr D. Momin said that while his duty was to conduct the post mortem, it was upto the police to find out as to what led to the officer’s  death.
The doctor also said that to the best of his knowledge, what he observed was that the entry wound was at the fore head  whereas the exit wound was at the back of head.
However, the medical examination report of Senior Medical and Health officer of  Patharkhmah CHC said  that the entry wound was at the back of the head and the exit wound was at  the forehead.
The medical certification of death at GNRC Hospital, Guwahati said  that the immediate cause of death was traumatic brain injury.
Marbaniang died under mysterious circumstances on the night of January 24 and the incident happened soon after the police officer detained 32 trucks carrying coal illegally to Assam. This has fuelled strong suspicion that he might have been killed for detaining the trucks.
The relatives of Pyngrope have demanded an inquiry by an independent agency into the incident  and the family has also filed an FIR in this regard.

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