|The bikes used in the abduction. Picture by Pranab Kumar Das
Tezpur, Sept. 23: Assam police have arrested two persons, including the driver of abducted NHPC official Anil Kumar Agarwal, and recovered two more bikes used in the abduction. Those associated with the case are hopeful of a “safe” breakthrough very soon.
Agarwal, the general manager of NHPC’s Tawang Chu-I project in Arunachal Pradesh, was abducted by members of the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland on Saturday evening from the 12 Mile area of Charduar in Sonitpur district along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border.
Additional director-general of police (law and order) A.P. Rout, who is camping in Tezpur since yesterday, told The Telegraph that besides driver Kumar Tamang, the other arrested person, whose name was not revealed, had helped facilitate the abduction. The official was travelling in an SUV (AR03 2888), which was intercepted by the six armed militants, who allegedly beat up Tamang and whisked away Agarwal on one of the bikes, police had said yesterday.
Assam CMO sources said both states are working in tandem and they are hopeful of a breakthrough very soon. “We have made good progress in the case,” one of them said.
The two bikes were recovered from near the area where Agarwal was abducted. Four bikes were used in the abduction, of which three (AS12 S 7633, AS12 C 6492 and AR01 2387) have been recovered. Of these, two were registered in Assam and one in Arunachal.
The I.K. Songbijit faction has been operating in Sonitpur district of Assam from Arunachal Pradesh and is heavily into extortion. It is reportedly behind the assassination of tea planter Adilur Rahman near his garden in Sonitpur district on November 13 last year.
Arunachal Pradesh too stepped up effort for the official’s release. Its chief minister Nabam Tuki convened a high-level meeting involving the DGP, home commissioner and the chief secretary this morning to discuss the case.
“The chief minister is very concerned over the development and has directed senior officials to co-ordinate with Assam and also share whatever information available for the safe release of Agarwal,” Bamang Tago, political secretary to the chief minister, told The Telegraph.
Arunachal Pradesh DGP K.K. Maheswari said security has been beefed up in areas bordering Assam.
Sources said the Arunachal Pradesh government would not like to see any harm come to officials associated with its power sector on which the underdeveloped frontier state was banking heavily for deliverance. The state has allotted as many as 150 hydel projects. Any untoward development in the sector will adversely impact its prospects, they said.
Worried NHPC officials are also hoping for the safe release of the “simple and soft-spoken” Agarwal at the earliest.
Sonitpur superintendent of police Arabinda Kalita said three top leaders of NDFB (Songbijit faction), namely Laifang (Dhekiajuli), Fangjara (Bhalukpung) and Bikrai (Balisang), were carrying out their activities in the district.