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GNLA ‘vice-chairman’ arrested

- Militant leader found enjoying lavish lifestyle in Bangalore hideout
Sohan Shira with Rapiush Sangma. File picture

Tura, June 16: The self-styled “vice-chairman” of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), Rapiush Ch. Sangma, was arrested in the Karnataka capital today, in a joint operation by Meghalaya and Bangalore police.

Inspector-general of police (operations), G.H.P. Raju said, “Meghalaya police were tipped off by inputs in Bangalore about his presence. We raided his house early thismorning and apprehended him. Many cell phones, black SIM cards, ATM cards and other incriminating documents were recovered from his rented apartment.”

Raju said Rapiush was hiding in Bangalore for the last three months and has been receiving money through bank transfers and leading a “luxurious life”.

The GNLA “vice-chairman” was staying with his wife and two children in Bangalore. Police say that he was highly active on social networking sites.

“As we have intensified our operation in Garo hills against insurgents, he quietly slipped away to Bangalore. We are completing the legal formalities, and he is likely to be brought to Shillong within the next two days,” Raju said.

He, however, refused to share information on how Rapiush was tracked down in Bangalore.

Raghavendra Auradkar, Bangalore police commissioner said Rapuish had been arrested from upscale residential area Koramangala. After the “secret operation” with the sleuths from Meghalaya, Sangma was kept in the police custody. “He will be taken to Meghalaya on a transit warrant after we produce him in a local court. A team of Meghalaya officers headed by a deputy superintendent of police, will take him,” said the commissioner.

Sangma is the second top-ranking GNLA leader to come under the police net. On July 30, 2012, GNLA “chairman” Champion R. Sangma was “arrested” near the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya. He is in jail. A former deputy superintendent of police, Champion had floated the GNLA along with former ANVC leader Sohan D. Shira, who is now the self-styled commander-in-chief of the outfit.

Rapiush had unsuccessfully contested the Meghalaya Assembly election in February 2013 from Rongjeng constituency under East Garo Hills on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Soon after the elections, Rapiush, 34, had allegedly joined the GNLA, and was accorded the rank of “vice-chairman”. He hails from Askipattal village in Rongjeng constituency.