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Freak blast reveals arms cache

Guwahati, June 4: A freak blast blew the lid off the United Liberation Front of Asom’s operations in the city, as police picked up a junior railway engineer, his son and daughter today.

The freak explosion revealed a storehouse of explosives hidden beneath the backyard of the railway employee’s official quarters at East Gotanagar here.

Police recovered 1.9 kg of RDX and 250 grams of TNT from a concealed underground pit. The explosives were sufficient for making several powerful bombs.

The explosives were concealed in the backyard of junior engineer Tapan Deka’s railway quarters. The explosion attracted the attention of neighbours, who informed the police.

The police also recovered photographs of top Ulfa leader Biju Chakraborty from the Dekas’ family album. This has deepened suspicions about the family’s links with the militant outfit.

City police also claimed that a slain Ulfa leader, Utpal Das alias Milkha Singh, had stayed with the Dekas for about a month before he was killed in an encounter with the police at Lokhra recently.

City police spokesman and additional superintendent of police Bibekananda Das said the bomb, which went off accidentally at around 8.30 am, was also concealed underground.

Explosives experts visited the spot to detect the cause of the explosion.

Further searches at Deka’s residence led to the recovery of 10 live bullets of 9 mm pistols from the make-up box of Deka’s daughter, Dolly, who is a higher secondary student. Some dry cells, bicycle ball-bearings and other articles, used for making crude bombs, were also recovered from the house.

Dolly, who was picked up later, told the police that she was not aware that live rounds of ammunition had been kept inside her make-up box, which had been lying unused for quite some time.

The police also found crude drawings of bomb-making techniques at Deka’s residence.

Deka and his son Ridip, a student of Cotton College here, were detained for interrogation to find out the family’s links to the outfit. The police believe Ulfa militants frequently used Deka’s government quarters as a hideout for carrying out operations in the city.

Police sources said the duo was likely to be arrested, given the nature of the case.

Biju Chakraborty, a self-styled Ulfa lieutenant, is believed to have been involved in the serial blasts that rocked the city in March.

The police said another Ulfa activist, Rajani Kanta Das, who was arrested from Maligaon area in March, revealed that two groups of Ulfa activists, one led by Chakraborty and the other by one Rubul Ali, carried out the blasts.

On the basis of Rajani Das’ confession, the police traced Utpal Das and later shot him dead in an encounter. Das is believed to have carried out several blasts in the city earlier as well.

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