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Tea garden manager released

Tezpur, Jan. 22: Bharat Singh Rathore, manager of Pabhoi tea estate, who was abducted on January 16, was released at Nawmorah along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in Sonitpur district last night.

According to Monuj Boruah, officer in-charge of Jingia police station, Rathore was found during a search operation at Nawmorah near Tinisuti under Biswanath Chariali police station around 10pm.

“We were patrolling the area last night when Rathore came to us and identified himself as manager of Pabhoi tea estate. He said he had walked about 2km through an interior road after he was released. Thereafter, we took him to the estate,” Boruah said.

The 48-year-old tea executive, who was abducted from his bungalow by a militant group, hails from Rajasthan. The garden is around 15km from Nawmorah.

“Rathore said the abductors had taken good care of him in the last few days but they did not demand any ransom or reveal their identity. However, they had taken away his wristwatch and two mobile phones,” Boruah said. The tea executive said he was taken to three places near the inter-state border during his captivity, he added.

The police officer said he could not contact Rathore today since he did not have his mobile phones.

On what might have prompted the abductors to free Rathore, Boruah said, “The abductors might have been wary of our search operations. The fact that we intensified our search yesterday could have led them to release him.”

Calcutta-based Narsinghpore Tea Company Private Ltd owns the 370-acre Pabhoi estate, situated 20km from the sub-divisional headquarters of Biswanath Chariali. The garden produces 7.2 lakh kg of tea annually.