A police officer has been suspended for allegedly helping a smuggler to transport contraband.

A police statement on Wednesday said that the officer-in-charge of Sangau police station in Lawngtlai district has been placed under suspension since September 15 for his misconduct in giving assistance to transport areca nuts smuggled from Myanmar.

The statement said that about 550 bags of areca nuts were illegally smuggled from Myanmar by some traders recently.

The smuggled areca nuts were stored at Archhuang Government Primary School and Anganwadi Centre at Archhuang village in Sangau block of Lawngtlai district for over two months.

The owners of the smuggled areca nuts approached Sangau police station for help to shift the contraband from the school as it is going to be opened soon.

Officer-in-charge (OC) of Sangau police station then contacted Lawngtlai Sub-Divisional Police Officer over the phone, who instructed the OC to assist the owners to prepare a certified letter allowing them to shift their goods so as to avoid interception by volunteers of a village-level task force on the way, the statement said.

The areca nuts were then transported by the owners from the school by hiring at least 20 vehicles.

However, all the vehicles carrying areca nuts were stopped and seized at Siachangkawn by personnel of Assam Rifles on September 11, the statement said.

The statement denounced the allegation that the areca nuts were first seized by state police and later personnel of Assam Rifles snatched away the goods from the state police.

It said that the approach made by the owners of the goods and subsequent actions of Mizoram Police were not mentioned in the general diary of the police station and seizure memo was also not prepared.

“As giving police assistance to transport illegal goods amounts to serious misconduct, the OC of Sangau police station has been placed under suspension since September 15 for his misconduct pending disciplinary proceedings against him,” the statement said.

An advisory memo was issued to the SDPO Lawngtlai for his lack of supervision and professionalism unbecoming of a responsible police officer, it added.

The involvement of the SDPO in the case is also being enquired, the statement added.

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