ULFA conspiracy to hijack IA plane foiled

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Guwahati, Feb 11: The ULFA had hatched up the conspiracy to hijack a plane at a restaurant in the Karol Bagh area in New Delhi some time in December last, the arrested ULFA leader Manoj Tamuly said.

Speaking to media while being taken to produce before the Magistrate, Tamuly said during the discussion, '' there were four top ULFA leaders-- Akash Thapa, Bhagin, Bikram and Bhaskar-- I was there at New Delhi because of health check up.'' Tamuly was arrested on Saturday night from the outskirts of the Guwahati city in connection with the plane hijack case which was cracked down by the Special Branch of the Assam Police.

According to IGP (SB) Khagen Sharma, the ULFA had taken a training on hijacking for 18 days inside the deep jungles of Baska district of Assam along the adjoining Bhutan border. ''We were trained by a person who was wearing a Sherwani. His name was Rafiq and we were not sure whether it was his real name'' said Tamuly.

Police said during confession, Tamuly also said that the aircraft would have been flown to Thimphu where a new set of militants would have boarded the flight and take it to Rawalpindi.

The depth of the ULFA plan could be gauged from the fact that the police today arrested one Suman Dutta, a ground employee of the Air Deccan in connection with the whole episode.

The police also informed that along with these ULFA militants who assembled at New Delhi, a television journalist Pradeep Gogoi was also there and accompanied the entire group. Police arrested him last night and was brought to Guwahati.

Meanwhile, a special team of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) arrived from New Delhi today and interrogated criminal lawyer Nekibur Zaman in his hospital bed. He was also arrested on the same conspiracy charges and according to police he was privy to the whole episode.

The police said that as the peace process was not making any headway, the ULFA got desperate and wanted to do something big to take the centre stage of Assam's politics.

The arrested have confessed before the media that the ULFA had planned to hijack the flight to Thimpu, from where it would have taken some leaders of the outfit to Rawalpindi, Pakistan. A Central team from the Home Ministry has reached Guwahati to interrogate the arrested. However, the ULFA has dismissed the allegation terming it as another intelligence disinformation campaign to scuttle the political process.

Dhariti Sharma, known to be Tamuly's fiancee, was also arrested. She has, however, said that Tamuly was actually planning to surrender before the authorities.

Meanwhile, Managing Director of the NE TV Manoranjana Singh, was shot at by some unidentified extremists here on Saturday last, Additional SP Biswajit Deuri said.

The incident took place barely 50 meters away from a police check post late at night. However it is yet to be ascertained whether the incident had any connection with the hijack episode.

A journalist of the same television channel Pradeep Gogoi was arrested last night at Tinsukia and was being brought here. He was accused of helping the ULFA militants to enter the city in his official vehicle, Mr Deuri added.


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