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Ex-East Bengal player held for bullet truck link

Malda, Dec. 5: Sleuths of the detective department of Calcutta police arrested an FCI employee here last night in connection with the ammunition haul from Kidderpore port in September.

Syed Abid Imam, 37, was picked up from his rented house at Collegepara in the Old Malda police station area in a late night swoop. Imam, the police said, worked at the FCI godown as a grade-II assistant.

A native of Bihar, Imam had played football for East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting between 1987 and 1992 and represented India in the under-19 team, the police said.

On September 23, the police stumbled on a truck parked at Dhobitalao in the port area. The vehicle was laden with 25,485 rounds of live AK-47 ammunition. A militant of the Meghalaya-based Achik National Volunteer Council from Tura in the Garo Hills was arrested in connection with the haul. Sirush Momin is said to be the one who had bought the truck in Assam.

It is learnt that the detectives came to Malda after the arrest of Momin and the truck driver. Imamís involvement came to light during their interrogation.

At the FCI godown, some of Imamís colleagues said his movements aroused suspicion since he joined the company a year ago. A few others pointed out that he often remained absent from work and went out of town for days at a stretch. A passport was recovered from his house today.

The sleuths first went to the godown looking for Imam. After being told that he was at home, they raided his residence with help from the local police.

Imam was arrested and brought to the police station, where he was interrogated at length. ďThe man was arrested for a case not related to this district and, therefore, I did not want to interfere. The team from Calcutta boarded the Uttar Banga Express with the FCI employee last night,Ē said Malda superintendent of police Pankaj Dutta.

Investigators said Imam was the receiver of the ammunition at the Calcutta-end and lived in a rented house at Metiabruz.

The truck, which had the ammunition tucked inside a false ceiling above the driverís cabin, had arrived in Calcutta from Assam through the Baxirhat checkpost. The ammunition was apparently meant for militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

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