Malda, March 2: A Madhyamik candidate was arrested from an examination centre in Bamongola yesterday on the suspicion of trying to extort money while claiming to be linked to KLO leader Malkhan Singh.
Police sources said last month, the 17-year-old boy had called up a businessman in Habibpur and mentioned KLO leader Malkhan Singh while demanding Rs 50,000.
A police officer in the know said the boy had used the KLO leader’s name to “scare the businessman”.
Dipu Mahato, 20, a garage mechanic, was also arrested yesterday as the calls to the businessman were made from his cellphone.
The Madhyamik examinee and Dipu were produced in the chief judicial magistrate’s court here today. Public prosecutor Jayanta Majumdar said both were remanded in police custody for five days.
“We had appealed to the court requesting that the Madhyamik candidate be allowed to sit for the rest of the exams. The chief judicial magistrate has ordered that he will be allowed to complete the examinations in police custody. He will be sent to a home for juveniles in Behrampore,” Majumdar said.
On February 22, Habibpur businessman Sukumar Barman had lodged a police complaint stating he had received three threat calls on February 20. “On all three occasions, the caller claimed to be a KLO member, demanded Rs 50,000 from the businessman and said he was close to Malkhan Singh,” said a source in Habibpur police station.
Investigations said the calls were made from a phone belonging to Mahato who lives in Habibpur, 35km from here.
“We traced Mahato who ran a garage. We picked him up and he confessed that the calls were made from his phone,” said the source.
Elaborating on how the Madhyamik examinee was tracked down, an officer said the boy had made the threat calls and engaged his friends to keep an eye on the trader.
“He asked his friends to keep a watch on the businessman to find out if he was seeking police help. After receiving the complaint we kept a watch on the trader so that he could not be abducted for ransom,” he said.
The police noticed a young boy following Barman for two days.
“We interrogated the boy and he gave us the name of the person who had made the threat calls,” said an officer.
The student from Bamongola, 45km from here, was arrested from an exam centre.
“We picked up the boy from an exam centre in Bamongola where he was writing his history paper. We arrested the boy as soon as the exam got over at 3pm,” said a source.
“While making the calls and demanding money, the boy claimed to be a KLO activist. We are yet to find his links with the outfit,” said a police officer. “It appears that the boy had dropped Singh’s name to scare the trader.”
Malda police superintendent Rajesh Yadav said: “We are looking into all angles to find out if the arrested duo have links with the KLO and its leader Malkhan Singh.”
The boy’s father, a gold craftsman in a jewellery shop, said: “I was totally in the dark and cannot say if my son has any link with the militant outfit.”