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Bullet truck trail to Assam

Calcutta, Sept. 8: Police today said they had tracked down the owner of the truck from which 25,000 AK-47 bullets were found in the city’s port area last week.

The owner, whose name was not disclosed “for the sake of investigations”, has been traced to Guwahati, detective department deputy commissioner Soumen Mitra said. A department team has been sent to the Assam capital to find the owner, he added.

“We have found out the original number of the vehicle (AS-01/C-6924) and, on the basis of this, found out who the owner is,” Mitra said.

“We have confirmed that the vehicle number is authentic and Telco (the truck manufacturer) informed us that the buyer was from Guwahati on the basis of the chassis and engine numbers that we provided them.”

Police had last Wednesday found the bullets hidden in a false ceiling in the driver’s cabin. The truck, stationed in a parking lot in the port area for a month, was found after a tip-off.

According to the parking lot attendant, two persons “who looked like Kashmiris” had changed the number plate to ML-07/5859 of Meghalaya. Early investigations showed the consignment appeared headed for Jammu and Kashmir.

Mitra said the truck had crossed the Bangshihat commercial checkpost in Dhubri, Assam, on August 5. “According to the logbook maintained at the checkpost, the truck’s number has been posted at number 19 and the timing shows that it crossed the Bengal-Assam border early in the morning.

“It had travelled with the original number plate all along and it was changed only in Dhobitala (in the port area) on August 21. We shall know more about it after our police teams have interacted with their counterparts in Assam,” he added.

Assam police, however, appeared to be in the dark till late tonight about the Calcutta team’s visit. “I have no knowledge of it,” Guwahati city superintendent of police H.C. Nath said. “At least, no one has contacted me.”

Assam police’s inspector-general (special branch) Khagen Sharma said Calcutta police had asked them to ascertain the number of a truck after the bullets were discovered. “We did this,” he said.

Guwahati deputy superintendent of police (Panbazar division) Indrajit Barman said he had been asked to trace a house on the Assam Trunk Road in Guwahati on the basis of certain “locational pointers” as houses there do not have numbers. But the search proved futile.

Tomorrow, a second police team will reach Guwahati to assist the one that landed there today.

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