Taxation and extortion are the two major source of funds generation by the Underground Groups in insurgency-affected areas like Assam. Despite repeated claims by the top insurgent leaders that they are not involved in any kind of extortion-related activities in the state, two back-to-back incidents of extortion were reported in the state in the last 24 hours.
The modus operandi of these unidentified miscreants is to collect funds by sending demand notes in the name of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I), followed by request notes to the targeted persons, specifying the time and place of collection. For those who refuse, the threats are clear: pay or die.
According to police sources, these unnamed criminals recently targeted two businessmen from Assam's Tezpur and demanded Rs 10 lakh from each of them on August 25 and 26. They also threatened them with dire consequences if they failed to pay the amount, as per the order of the senior leaders of the outlawed faction.
The victims namely Sankar Sensuwa, a businessman from Hazarapar in Tezpur, and another Ganesh Sahu of Bindukuri were sent extortion letters in ULFA-I letter pads on the aforementioned dates.
Speaking to the media, one of the businessmen Ganesh Sahu said, “Last August 26, I received an extortion letter in the name of ULFA-I. At around 9.40 pm, two youths under the guise of FCI representatives visited my home in a pulsar bike and handed over a letter to my son, and went away. Initially, I thought it would be an FCI notice, but, after reading the letter, I came to know that it was an extortion letter from ULFA-I where they demanded Rs 10 lakhs from me. After discussing the matter with my family members, I informed the matter to police on August 29.”
Sahu also mentioned that both the youths had covered their faces with black cloth, thus, he and his son couldn’t identify them.
“I also received an unknown phone call where they warned me not to inform the police about the extortion demand,” added Sahu (the victim).
However, after the matter was registered before the Lalmati police station, the police apprehended one Bicky Das from Tezpur’s Majgaon locality, of late.
Based on Bicky’s confession, the police could trace the location of his accomplice Utpal Changmai alias Pappu Changmai of Biswanath’s Gohpur. However, Pappu was found absconding.
A search operation to nab Utpal alias Pappu is on.
Meanwhile, on Friday night, Guwahati police have arrested three persons for allegedly extorting money in the name of the outlawed faction ULFA-I.
The arrested persons were identified as Gautam Talukdar, Biki Thapa and Tapan Talukdar.
According to initial inputs, the trio had demanded an advance of Rs 5 lakh from one Prakash Bhagawati of Bagharbari in Guwahati city.
Following this, a complaint was lodged by the victim at Dispur police station.
Accordingly, a trap was laid successfully by the Crime branch along with Dispur police and they were apprehended today.
Sources informed that the trio was caught red-handed at Borbari locality near Hengrabari of Guwahati city.