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Local link in bullet truck trail

Calcutta, Dec. 7: Police are in search of a second local contact in connection with the ammunition haul from Kidderpore port in September.

Sleuths picked up the trail of Saidul after interrogating the first major local catch, Syed Abid Imam, a Food Corporation employee arrested from Malda on Thursday.

The detective department has also detained a challenged youth running a phone booth in Old Malda town. “Imam used to make calls to Kashmir and Bangladesh from the booth late at night. That is why we are interrogating the booth-owner, Iqbal,” said Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner of police, detective department.

Several leads have emerged following the arrest of Imam — a former footballer of East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting. A vital one involves Saidul, who allegedly helped transport the consignment. “Imam is a kingpin of a racket that supplies arms and ammunition to the militant outfits of Kashmir. He was the receiver of the ammunition in Calcutta,” said a detective department official. “Imam owns a house in the Metiabruz area but is mostly in Malda. So, he engaged Saidul as his city agent.”

Saidul runs a shop on Lindsay Street. “We went there but it was shut. He could be absconding,” the official said.

dded. “We tracked down his associate Syed, whom we are questioning.”

According to police, there is enough evidence to prove Imam’s involvement in the mammoth arms haul. A few weeks before the consignment reached Calcutta, he had gone to Bangladesh.

“We have got the name of the hotel where he stayed. At the same time, two men from Jammu and Kashmir were also staying in the same hotel. Imam seems to have organised the trip for the three to seal the deal,” said an official of the detective department.

The truck, which had 25,485 rounds of live AK-47 ammunition hidden inside a false ceiling above the driver’s cabin, had reached the city from Assam on August 6. “Imam escorted the truck to Dhobitala parking lot and introduced himself to the guard there as Habib, a footballer playing for Mohammedan Sporting Club,” said Mitra.

Police are now waiting for the arrival of Sirush Momin, a member of the Meghalaya-based militant outfit Achik National Volunteer Council, who was recently arrested from Tura.

“He bought the truck in the name of his cousin and then brought it to Assam. Police in Meghalaya have said they will hand him over to us soon,” added deputy commissioner Mitra.

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