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More political leaders names in Darjeeling - Assam arm haul case

Darjeeling - Assam arm haul case Umesh Kami - Ganesh Chhetri
The Darjeeling police chief today said a “lot of names” of political leaders had cropped up in the Assam arms haul case.

Till now, police were known to be looking for GTA elected member Sanjay Thulung, who is also the Gorkha Janmukti Yuva Morcha vice-president, in connection with the case. Thulung is untraceable.

Two persons — one man hailing from Assam and the other from Alipurduar — have been arrested in the Chirang district in lower Assam with the arms and ammunition that they were allegedly carrying in a Tata Safari.

Darjeeling police superintendent Akhilesh Chaturvedi said: “During their interrogation, a lot of names have cropped up. We are verifying the facts.”

Asked if the names were those of political leaders, Chaturvedi said: “Yes, of course.… So many names are coming, we have to verify and then I can say who is involved or not.”

An M16 rifle, two Beretta pistols, three .32 bore pistols, 300 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 80 rounds of ammunition of AK-series rifles, 198 rounds of M16 ammunition and 60 rounds of .32 ammunition were found in the Darjeeling-bound Tata Safari in Chirang on November 8.

Umesh Kami, who hails from Alipurduar and is a member of the Gorkhaland Personnel in Darjeeling, and Ganesh Chhetri from Assam, were in the car.

Chhetri, who is a member of an Assam-based outfit called the United Gorkha People’s Organisation purportedly told his interrogators that the arms consignment was for a political leader of Darjeeling district in lieu of money.

On November 9, the Darjeeling police raided the house of Thulung.

The Morcha raised allegations of police atrocities after law-enforcers patrolled Tukvar on Monday following information that Thulung could be hiding there.

The hill party alleged that the police had raided two houses, ransacked property and harassed a schoolgirl in Tukvar, which is Morcha chief Bimal Gurung’s GTA constituency.

Chaturvedi today said: “So far, we are taking all legal action. Since the case is with Assam police, we have sent our team to examine those persons (arrested) and based on their information, we are taking all possible legal action.”

On November 17, the police had found an abandoned Tata Safari in Tukvar, near Darjeeling town. Asked about the vehicle, Chaturvedi said: “Yes, that was found after a statement from the accused person and we are verifying the facts and soon, we will be able to reach a conclusion.”

The Trinamul delegation met Chaturvedi today to seek the quick arrest of all those associated with the arms seizure.

“We are getting information that Sanjay Thulung had bought the vehicle (that was impounded in Assam),” said Binny Sharma, the general secretary of the Trinamul (hills).

Alluding to the Burdwan blast, Sharma took a swipe at the BJP, saying: “The BJP is making a lot of noise in south Bengal but why are they silent in the hills on an issue that concerns national security.”

The Morcha, which is the dominant party in the hills, and the BJP are allies.

S.S. Ahluwalia, the BJP MP in Darjeeling, was elected with the backing of the Morcha.

Rajen Mukhia, the president of Trinamul (hills), said the delegation had requested the police to ensure that the accused were immediately arrested.

“The Darjeeling hills share international borders and peace must be maintained in the hills. We want the accused to be arrested as early as possible.”

Source: The Telegraph

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