The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Militants’ walk free, almost

Calcutta/Imphal, April 10: Two members of the outlawed Manipur outfit Prepak, who were picked up in Calcutta on Sunday as suspected militants, would have walked out of a city court on bail today but for the absence of someone to offer their sureties.

With no local resident available to stand on behalf of Rakesh Singh and R.K. Dhanashwar, the judge remanded them in judicial custody till Friday.

About two-and-a-half hours after the bail close shave for the CID, which produced the two in the Alipore court, a Manipur police team turned up with “specific charges” against them.

The judge, who would have earlier granted bail to the duo had two sureties been there, said the Manipur police can take them away producing a warrant stating the charges against them within the next three days.

Dhanashwar, who is said to be a self-styled captain of the outfit targeting non-Manipuris in the northeastern state since 1977, and Rakesh, its lieutenant, had been camping in Calcutta for months allegedly to recruit cadres from some of the city’s leading educational institutions.

Prepak (Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak), however, issued statements today saying the two were not its members. A statement issued by a rebel identifying himself as Tiger described them as innocent civilians.

Acting on a tip-off, the military intelligence and CID personnel picked up Dhanashwar and Rakesh on Sunday.

Their comrades — Leishram Ibobi Singh, who is said to be in charge of the outfit’s political affairs, and its alleged finance secretary Y. Sanjay Singh — were caught on arrival at Imphal airport from Calcutta on Saturday.

According to the CID, all four had been staying in Jadavpur for months.

“When we arrested Dhanashwar and Rakesh, there were no specific charges against the two. It was with the Manipur police. So we lodged a general diary against them with Jadavpur police station and forwarded them to court under Section 41 (detention on suspicion or apprehension of criminal activity),” said Rajeev Kumar, CID deputy inspector-general (operations).

The charges under Section 41 are bailable.

“It was only after the Manipur police came up with spe- cific charges that the antecedents of the two could be made available before the court,” he added.

An army official had said yesterday that Prepak chairman Santi was in Calcutta three months ago to chalk out recruitment strategy. Santi is believed to be in Bangkok now.

The Bengal police brass said they would increase surveillance on outstation students across Bengal.

“We have a monitoring cell to keep watch on outstation students but it has to be activated further in the wake of arrests,” home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said at Writers’ Buildings this afternoon.

In Imphal, the army claimed that the arrest of the Prepak quartet in a joint operation with Manipur and Bengal police was the result of an operation that began last September.

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