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Police arrest ex-ANVC chief for selling weapons to GNLA

Jerome Momin acting as ‘chief mentor’ of GNLA c-in-c Sohan D Shira

SHILLONG: In a significant breakthrough, police on Wednesday evening arrested Jerome Momin, the former commander- in-chief of ANVC, currently under peace pact, for allegedly selling sophisticated weapons and ammunition to self styled commander in chief of banned GNLA, Sohan D Shira, in exchange of money worth Rs.17 lakh.
Police will produce Jerome before the magistrate on Thursday for further police custody and interrogation.
Police personnel from Williamnagar raided the house of Jerome, and arrested him in connection with selling of weapons to GNLA, a revelation which will have far reaching consequences for the disbanded ANVC which is still waiting for the fulfillment of Agreed Text of Settlement signed in September last year.
Meghalaya Police Public Relations Officer and IGP in charge law and order, G.H.P. Raju, in a statement issued on Wednesday said Jerome had sold three big weapons and ammunition at a cost of Rs.17 lakh to Sohan.
Williamnagar police has been keeping vigil on the activities of Jerome and he was under surveillance for some time so as to elicit credible information about his alleged illegal activities before picking him up for questioning, the police official said.
“Police found out from reliable sources that Jerome amassed wealth as C-in-C of disbanded ANVC and bought huge plots of lands in Deku area of South Garo Hills, flats in Guwahati and other places,” Raju said.
Police will carry out thorough investigation into all the financial transactions of Jerome as police suspect that all the properties acquired by Jerome were from “terror funds”.
In December 2014, Williamnagar police had registered a criminal case against Jerome for selling illegal weapons to Sohan based on the confessions of three persons identified as Horishor T Sangma, Doron N Marak and Newsrang M Marak, who were arrested in connection with the case.
The trio had confessed to the crime and also named Jerome as the main person who asked them to keep the weapons for selling the same to GNLA at an appropriate time.
“While ANVC formally deposited weapons on December 14, 2004, on July 9, 2008 and again on December 13, 2014 at Tura Police Reserve for safe custody and verification, Jerome kept many illegal weapons undisclosed and hid them for future sale,” the official added.
Police have also found out from the surrendered GNLA cadres that Jerome has emerged as the ‘chief mentor’ of Sohan in recent months.
Police revealed that there was some move by Sohan to make Jerome the chairman of GNLA in place of Champion R Sangma who, Sohan believed was more of a liability to GNLA than asset due to his many bad habits.
“Sohan did not extend any support to Champion to get him     out of jail from Shillong and offered the post of GNLA chairman to Jerome. Police are yet to verify about the formal status of Jerome with GNLA,” the official statement said.
As per police records, Jerome was directly involved in killing five police personnel in Songsak area on February 28, 1998 and looting Rs.87.5 lakh in cash which was being escorted to Mendipathar Treasury from SBI Williamnagar branch.
Jerome was also directly involved in ambushing and killing former Deputy SP Pechon A Sangma and other police personnel on September 9, 2002 at Bibragre, near Chokpot.
“Jerome will be interrogated about his involvement in these gruesome crimes,” police added.

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