Shillong, Nov 26 (IANS) A former militant leader in Meghalaya has been arrested on charges of selling sophisticated arms and ammunition to another insurgent outfit in the state, police said on Thursday.
Jerome Cheran Momin, who was the self-styled military chief of the disbanded A’chik National Volunteer’s Council (ANVC), was arrested on Wednesday night from West Garo Hills district headquarters Tura for selling weapons worth Rs.17 lakh to Sohan D. Shira, the ‘military wing chief’ of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA).
The GNLA, which is active in the five districts of the Garo Hills, has been abducting government officials and businessmen for ransom.
“Jerome was under police scanner for months for selling sophisticated arms, ammunition besides other military logistics items to the GNLA,” East Garo Hills district police chief Davies Marak told IANS.
He said the weapons sold to the militant outfit were meant to be deposited to the Meghalaya government during a surrender ceremony held in December 2014 after the ANVC signed a memorandum of settlement with the central and state governments.
“Instead of depositing the arms with the government, Jerome hid many illegal weapons at undisclosed places to make money,” the police official said.
In December 2014, police registered a case against Jerome, based on confessions of three arrested people.
Police said Jerome amassed a lot of wealth, and bought huge plots of lands in Deku in South Garo Hills, flats in Assam’s main city Guwahati and other places.
A court in East Garo Hills district on Thursday sent Jerome to seven days’ police custody.