ONGC kidnapping case: Cop held for aiding ULFA(I) militants

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Sivasagar, Apr 26 (PTI) A police constable was on Monday arrested in Assam's Tinsukia district for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of three ONGC employees here by ULFA(I) militants, a senior officer said.

Two of his colleagues, suspected to be his accomplices, are currently absconding, and a search operation to nab them is underway, he said.

The three constables - all of them from the 25th Assam Battalion -- were deployed for maintaining security at ONGC's oil rig at Lakwa and are alleged to have facilitated the kidnapping of the employees, two of whom have been rescued, the police officer said.

Constable Basanta Buragohain was arrested during the day from Sadiya in Tinsukia district, while a team of officers are on the lookout for his colleagues, he added.

Taking to Twitter, Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said three persons have been arrested so far for their alleged 'direct involvement' in the case.

One of them purchased the motorcycle that was used in the crime, the second person had rendered logistical support, and Buragohai 'actively participated' in the abduction, he said on the microblogging site.

'Investigation indicates involvement of only 1 police personnel so far but anyone found directly or indirectly involved in this case will be seriously dealt with as per law.

All relevant facts are bound to come out on debriefing of the apprehended Basanta Buragohain,' the DGP tweeted.

The Assam Police will spare no culprit involved in this case, Mahanta said.

'Effort to trace out and rescue the third victim from Ulfa custody is still going on,' he added.

A massive combing operation followed by an exchange of fire between security forces and militants on April 24, near the India-Myanmar border, had led to the rescue of two of the three kidnapped employees -- junior technician Mohini Mohan Gogoi (35) and junior engineering assistant (production) Alakesh Saikia (28).

The operation, aided by intelligence inputs from Assam Police, was carried out by a joint team of the Nagaland Police, the Army and other paramilitary organisations.

Another junior technician Ritul Saikia (33), the third abductee, is yet to be traced.

Meanwhile, the outlawed ULFA (I), in an email, has claimed that the outfit or the NSCN, another separatist group, were not responsible for the status of the third employee 'who we suspect may have fallen to their bullets or the security agencies are refraining from revealing his status for own reasons'. PTI DG RMS RMS