Two senior police officers sent to three-day police custody

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Agartala, April 2 (UNI) The Amarpur Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate in South Tripura today sent two senior police officers, accused of snatching a sacred treasure chest from a tribal family last week, to three-day police custody.

Police produced them before the court and had sought five-day remand for investigation of the case filed by one Sumitradevi Jamatia of remote Nagrai village under Ampi police station in south Tripura on March 29.

Specific cases had been registered against the officials for their involvement in robbing the treasure chest under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC.

Earlier, CID sleuths had recovered the stolen treasure chest from a lake at Raticherra under Baikhora police station in South Tripura.

Ms Jamatia had filed a complaint that a group of Tripura State Rifles (TSR) jawans, led by Commandant of 9th Battalion Manik Lal Majumdar and DSP Enforcement Branch of Tripura Police Pinaki Samanta, took away their sacred chest with some valuables from her house when they were attending a social function at their neighbour's house.

She said Mr Majumdar and Mr Samanta stormed her house and took away the 260 kg iron chest on the pretext of preserving it in a museum.

Meanwhile, both the officers were suspended this morning following their arrest by CID officials and subsequent recovery of the treasure chest.

CID officials said Mr Samanta had admitted that they had taken away the chest, adding that his accomplice and senior Manik Lal Majumdar had broken the lock of the chest unauthorisedly alone on the way back.

However, Mr Majumdar denied the allegation and said Mr Samanta boarded his escort vehicle without his permission and snatched the chest from the tribal woman's house.

Meanwhile, Ms Jamatia said, ''No living member of our family had ever opened the chest, as my grandfather-in-law had a divine dream and forbade his clan from opening it. However, we believe it contains a golden idol of our deity Garia, gemstones, antique gold and silver coins and jewellery.'' Quoting one Suchitra Jamatia of Sumitradevi's family, CID officials said her great-grandfather-in-law Bodhiram Jamatia's father was a chieftain in Teliamura during the reign of King Birchandra Manikya (1863-1896) and had received the chest as reward for commendable performance in Kuki (a tribal clan of Tripura) revolution.

Mr Bodhiram, who inherited the chest, kept it in the ancestral Jamatia home in Teliamura till 1983, after which Suchitra's husband was given the responsibility of protecting and worshipping it, she added.

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