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SOS to Interpol on gizmo

Nov. 16: Police have sought help from Interpol in connection with the seizure of a satellite phone from Janaki Ballav Roy, an alleged Kamtapur Liberation Organisation sympathiser staying at Paikerpara in Dhupguri.

Police sources said preliminary investigation indicated that Roy might have used the phone to “hook up” with some “contacts” in undisclosed Arab countries.

Sleuths are trying to find out what Roy had discussed with suspected Islamic fundamentalists with links to the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence and track down these people with Interpol’s help.

The sources hoped the international agency would be able to “throw more light” on the satellite phone, believed to have been used in planning the Dhupguri strike. KLO militants, armed with automatic weapons, attacked the CPM office in the town on August 17, killing five partymen.

The police said Roy was initially an activist of the Uttarakhand Dal and later joined the now defunct Kamtapur Students’ Organisation, predecessor of the Kamtapur People’s Party. He is believed to have been harbouring KLO militants and was absconding for the past two years. He surfaced in Dhupguri just before the attack on the CPM office.

The fortuitous seizure of the phone signals that the KLO possesses sophisticated communication devices, senior officials said.

“This also shows that the militant organisation has now generated enough funds since making and receiving calls through a satellite phone is extremely expensive,” the sources said.

The police believe that the militant outfit, once strapped for funds, “generated resources” through timber smuggling in its once-forested operation area, which is being fast cleared by fly-by-night timber merchants operating with the help of the smugglers.

An officer said they were also investigating whether some terrorist outfit close to the KLO had “gifted” it the satellite phone. Militants use these phones to dodge the surveillance devices used by security agencies. “It is much easier for security agencies to track down mobile phone calls than calls made from satellite phones,” he said.

Inspector general of police (north) Bhupinder Singh said the satellite phone, seized on Thursday night might have been “activated” in August 1999.

“It appears to have been bought in Singapore. We sought the help of Interpol to trace the nature of calls and their destinations,” he said.

Jalpaiguri additional superintendent of police Anand Kumar said they were also checking with the satellite phone maker, who has a branch in New Delhi.

Singh said the police were investigating whether the ISI had supplied the phone to the militant group, working out of the jungles in south Bhutan.

Intelligence reports in recent months indicated that the KLO had established “ties” with the ISI, now acting as a facilitator. A police team left for Gujarat and New Delhi early this week to “hunt down” some key KLO suspects hiding there.

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