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Arrested ULFA leader brought to Asom

Written by: Staff
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Guwahati, Jun 07 (UNI) The Commander-in-Chief of the 28 Battalion of the banned insurgent outfit United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Plaban Phukan alias Mrinal Hazarika (45), who was arrested in Siliguri along with three of his accomplices on May 18, was today handed over to Asom Police.

Official sources said technically he was handed over to the state police yesterday itself and this morning he was brought from New Alipurduar through Siphung Express.

The four ULFA militants were nabbed by police from two different hotels at Pradhannagar area of Siliguri, triggering a storm in Asom as they were the highest ranked ULFA leader to be nabbed in recent times.

However, only Mrinal Hazarika was handed over to Asom Police.

An active satellite phone, two regular mobiles bearing Guwahati numbers and a 9 mm pistol loaded with two rounds of live bullets were seized from them. Police have also recovered some crucial documents pertaining to ULFA activities, an album and currencies of both India and Nepal from the militant group.

Other than Mrinal Hazarika who hails from Dibrugarh in Assam, the three other militants arrested are ground-level workers of the outfit and have been identified as Jagat Barua alias Munu Barua (20) of Shibsagar, Bulen Prasad Sahu alias Mahesh Gupta (35) of Dibrugarh and Dulal Saikia alias Pradeep Sharma (33) of Tinsukia.

The police will present him before the court either later in the night or tomorrow as technically they can keep them under custody for 24 hours. Sources said he may be released on bail as the state government is not in a mood to disturb the ongoing peace process.

Peace initiator Dr Mamoni Roysom Goswami is today meeting the PMO officials to finalize the date for the next round of PCG talks. The PCG has all along been demanding release of jailed ULFA leaders including Mrinal Hazarika.

The police believe ULFA is extending its activities in North Bengal, which is well connected, to Nepal, because of heightened security in Assam. Intelligence reports corroborate the assumption that the militant group has shifted its arms-supply network from Bangladesh to Nepal.

Mr Hazarika had been in Nepal for about one-and-a-half months to finalise an arms deal with the Maoists shortly before his arrest.

UNI MT KK VA DS1355

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