Aizawl, June 15 (IANS) The Mizoram government has handed over the Rs 14.5 crore gold robbery case to the CBI as the Special Investigation Team (SIT), constituted by the state government to probe the case, was facing problems, an official said here on Wednesday.
A private vehicle carrying 52 gold bars worth Rs 14.5 crore was intercepted on the outskirts of Aizawl capital city on December 14 last year by the troopers of Assam Rifles.
Mizoram Police last month arrested Colonel Jasjit Singh, Commandant of the 39th Battalion of Assam Rifles, eight other Assam Rifles troopers and four civilians, including a driver, in the sensational gold robbery case.
"After the approval of the state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, a statutory notification was issued by the state home department on Tuesday evening handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation," a Mizoram home department official said.
Mizoram Home Minister R. Lalzirliana earlier said the SIT officials were facing problems to investigate the case as modern equipments were required to explore various details related to the case -- chiefly, whether army officials, para-military personnel and people from outside the state as also the country were involved in the crime.
"People from outside the country might be involved in the offence. We want a detailed and accurate inquiry into the case to unearth all relevant details," the minister told reporters.
The fate of the gold bars, which might have been smuggled from neighbouring Myanmar, was not yet known.
The owner and driver of the vehicle C. Lalnunfela lodged an FIR at Kulikawn police station in Aizawl on April 21 following which a case was registered leading to the probe by Mizoram Police.
Lalnunfela told police that he lodged the FIR after more than four months as the Assam Rifles personnel had threatened him with dire consequence if he complained to police.
Home Minister Lalzirliana said the SIT officials did a commendable job by arresting 13 accused, including Colonel Singh, in connection with the case.
"Apart from the problems being faced by the SIT in the investigation, there are unconfirmed report of highly-placed people getting involved in the case and also Col. Singh's refusal to cooperate with the SIT forced the state government to hand over the case to the CBI," the home minister added.
The army officer was suspended from the service by the authorities immediately after his arrest by Mizoram Police on May 5.
Mizoram shares an unfenced international border of 404 km with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh. This offers immense scope for smuggling animals, drugs, arms and ammunition and various other contraband across the border.