Siliguri, Oct. 18: In a late-night swoop yesterday, Siliguri police arrested Suresh Rizal, a Nepalese citizen, from a hotel on Hill Cart Road for suspected Maoist links.
Police recovered five letters written on the letterhead of the Nepal Communist Party Maowadi from Rizal. In the letters written in Nepali, Rizal has demanded money from Nepalese businessmen “to help Maoists fight for a greater cause”.
The police have also arrested two others — Ajit Das and Ratan Das — from a local printing press at Panitanki More, from where Rizal allegedly got the letter pads printed. The printing press has been sealed.
“Rizal, a resident of Itahari village in the district of Sunsari, Nepal, has been in India for the past one year. He stayed in different hotels of the town. He had been home during the Pujas and came back to India only last Wednesday,” Siliguri additional superintendent of police Rajeev Mishra said.
Rizal’s job was to send extortion demands to businessmen by faxing them letters. “On interrogation, Rizal revealed that he used Siliguri as a base to send letters to keep the anonymity of his place of existence. A fax sent from India to Nepal would not bear the number of the Indian telephone, which Rizal used as an advantage. This is the explanation that Rizal has given to us and we will be verifying the facts,” Mishra said.
Rizal has confessed to extorting about Rs 1 lakh from two businessmen in Nepal.
“Rizal has named another Nepalese citizen who worked with him and we are getting in touch with our counterparts in Nepal to arrest him,” Mishra added.
The police have been able to lay their hands on about five letters which were yet to be faxed. “The demand for ransom is different for different businessmen. In one, it is Rs 10 lakh, in another it is Rs 5 lakh and in another it is Rs 2.51 lakh,” he said.
Although the police have not been able to get much out of Rizal so far, they do not rule out the possibility that Rizal was getting local support. “It is quite possible that he has some local contacts, given the smooth manner of his operations. But we have not been able to establish that as yet,” Mishra said.
“The Indo-Nepal border being a porous one, it is difficult to keep a tab on whoever is entering the country from Nepal. However, we are maintaining a strict watch and have alerted hotel owners to inform the police as soon as they spot any mysterious person in their hotels,” he added.