Guwahati, Aug. 14: Police here have started probing an alleged nexus between militants and those running egg syndicates, as three more accused were arrested last night.
Charan Singh alias Bullet of Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district, Rajak Ali Kazi of Golokganj and Jahangir Alam of Dhubri were arrested for their alleged involvement in the racket. They were later brought here.
Earlier yesterday, five persons were arrested here on charges of illegally collecting Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 from trucks transporting eggs to the region from Andhra Pradesh through the Assam-Bengal check gates at Chagolia and Srirampur. The collection was done in the name of All Assam Egg Merchant’s Association.
A police source here told The Telegraph today that a probe was under way to find out if the illegal syndicate had links with militant outfits, as a few traders had alleged that some militants used to threaten those who refused to pay.
“According to the traders, earlier, members of a few militant groups used to collect money directly from them but for the past few years, the association has been doing so. It claims to be paying off the militants along with others. We suspect involvement of some militant outfits active in Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts, as we have received complaints about extortion from traders transporting commodities through the two check gates. So we have started a thorough probe into the allegation,” the source said.
According to sources, members of NDFB (different factions), Kamatapur Liberation Organisation and members of the Adivasi Cobra Military Force, which is now in ceasefire, are collecting money from trucks and threatening those refusing to pay. “Those running syndicates of fish, eggs and other items maintain very good relations with these militant groups as they require muscle power to threaten traders,” a source said.
According to traders, about 500 to 600 trucks of eggs enter the region every month and illegal collection of money at the checkgates increases prices in the retail markets. An egg is retailed at Rs 5 here.
Sources said the police were searching for other members of the association, including its president, in connection with the case registered with Hatigaon police station here. “The drive against syndicates will continue,” a source said.
The move comes amid Dispur’s meeting yesterday to contain prices of food items, including onions, prices of which have risen to Rs 60 in the past week.
Assam food and civil supplies minister Nazrul Islam yesterday said onion prices had gone up in Nasik and would remain high for at least a month.
“We have to wait for at least a month for onion prices to come down,” he said.