New Delhi, August 18: The Special Cell of the Delhi Police has arrested a top leader of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang faction (NSCN-K) from Lodhi Road area where he had come to meet a "close associate".
Ngamsinlung Panmei (50), a top leader of of NSCN-K was arrested late last night from outside the India Habitat Centre, police said today.
He is being touted as a big catch as the cops claimed that he is the self styled "Health minister" of NSCN-K.
Special Cell DCP Rajiv Ranjan claimed that Panmei, a "fine orator", is "very close" and a key political advisor to Khaplang and heads the outfit's fund-raising and recruitment talks.
NSCN(K) had abrogated a ceasefire agreement and attacked security personnel, including a an army convoy killing 18 soldiers in Manipur in June.
"He is being questioned to ascertain the identity of the assailants of the June 6 ambush," Ranjan told reporters in a press conference.
However, the "associate" is still absconding and the reason behind Panmei's visit to the national capital is still being ascertained, police said. Panmei, who had arrived in Delhi around the second week of July, was presented in a court today, which sent him to judicial custody till August 24.
He was living at a rented accommodation in south Delhi's Mahipalpur area, police said. Panmei was last tracked at Taga region in Myanmar, where he was believed to have met SS Khaplang in the council headquarters of NSCN (K), Ranjan said.
"Panmei has also revealed to have witnessed the presence of the offices of other outfits like United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People's Liberation Army (PLA), Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) and a faction of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) in the areas surrounding the NSCN(K) council headquarters," senior police officials said.
He allegedly got many cadres of rival faction NSCN (IM) arrested by the police, officials said adding that the suspect met Khaplang for the first time in 1998 at Chumna in Myanmar.
"Panmei continued meeting Khaplang time and again in Myanmar and also attended major meetings of NSCN (K). He carried out his recruitment drives by brainwashing and motivating youths of Nagaland to join NSCN(K) and collected funds by extorting money from contractors, businessmen in the state," the official said.
The police have recovered five mobile phones, seven SIM cards and a laptop from Panmei's possession.