Guwahati, July 6: A man claiming to be P.C. Ram called his family in Ghaziabad to say he was “safe and well” within 24 hours of an Ulfa-engineered resurrection of the man who the world knows as dead.
Police quoted the FCI executive director’s befuddled son Pravin as saying that the man whose call he took around 4.15pm today sounded “quite like my father”. A neighbour who answered the phone when The Telegraph tried to get a confirmation of the development said Ram’s family members were “asleep”.
A senior police officer involved in the investigation into the abduction and murder case said the man who could or would be Ram even spoke to Pravin’s mother Padmavati and his sister Nirja. Both, he said, were almost convinced that the voice of the caller matched that of Ram.
The “voice” told the family that they should not worry about his diabetes as his abductors had arranged for “some kind of medical treatment”.
Ulfa claimed yesterday that the body that was dug out from a pit on a riverbank in Baksa district last weekend was actually that of an “army informer”.
Pravin had confirmed on Sunday that the body was that of his father and took it to New Delhi for cremation.
As many as 22 people, including Ram’s FCI colleagues and his adopted daughter June Murmu, had identified the body.
The latest twist in the tale has forced the police to opt for a DNA test of nail and skin samples retained from the body confirmed as Ram’s.
Additional superintendent of police Rajen Singh said the FCI official’s family requested a DNA test, too, after hearing of Ulfa’s claim that he was alive and in its custody. “A member of the special investigating team will be leaving for Hyderabad with samples of skin and nails for tests at the Centre for DNA Fingerpinting and Diagnostics.”
Pravin confirmed that he requested a DNA test “to be certain” that the body he brought from Baksa was his father’s and not somebody else’s.
The body was traced 74 days after Ram was taken hostage while returning from office to his Guwahati apartment. His driver was abducted, too, but freed a few days later.
Pravin, an MBA student, said his family had nothing to lose by getting a DNA test done. “Ulfa's claim has given us a thin ray of hope.”
The police top brass went into a huddle this morning at the behest of the Union home ministry to discuss the “confusion” arising out of Ulfa’s claim.
G.P. Singh, the deputy inspector-general of police in charge of the central western range, said Ulfa’s claim was “nothing more than a ploy to keep criticism at bay for as long as possible”. He recalled that the militant group had employed the same tactic after the abductions of Sanjoy Ghose and Russian engineer Sergei Gritchenko.
Another police official said it might be a plan by Ulfa to extract more money. Ram’s family paid Rs 16 lakh to the militant group as the first instalment of the ransom.
An Ulfa militant called the family on the very day Ram’s body was found to demand the second instalment.
The FCI head-office in New Delhi demanded a full-fledged inquiry “to bring out the truth”.