The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Body blow to claim on Ram

Guwahati/New Delhi, July 10: The bizarre twists and turns in the P.C. Ram abduction-murder case have left not only two families confused but the police, too.

A day after police said the body found in Baksa district on June 30 was that of lance naik Sunil Kumar and not the abducted FCI executive director, the armyman’s wife in Himachal Pradesh said it could not be her husband.

Additional superintendent of police (city) Rajen Singh said Kumar’s wife Nanu, who stays in Solan town, was shown a photograph of the body that was confirmed to be that of Ram and cremated by his family. She asserted it was not her husband.

Nanu told the police that Kumar took leave for two months from June 1 and left for Manipur on June 27. “She has had no contact with him since,” a source said.

Nanu could not say why her husband went to Manipur.

Ulfa’s announcement on Thursday that Ram was alive and a call to his family from a man who sounded like him the next day turned the case on its head. The police are banking on DNA profiling of hair and skin samples to solve the mystery.

“We will have to wait for the DNA profiling report before reaching a conclusion,” senior superintendent of police (city) Surendra Kumar said. “There is a possibility that since the body was partially decomposed, Kumar’s wife was not able to identify it from the photographs.”

The police came up with the theory that the dead man could be Kumar when Dhireswar Dutta, an arrested resident of the village where the body was found, gave them a sensational story.

The rickshawpuller said Ulfa militants killed Kumar, a pharmacist at the army’s base hospital at Basistha in Guwahati, when he was visiting him in Anandapur village. The armyman was buried on the bank of the Mora Pagladiya river, exactly where the police found the body that was thought to be Ram’s.

In New Delhi, Ram’s harassed family asked chief minister Tarun Gogoi questions he had no answers to.

As Ram’s wife Padmavati, son Pravin and longtime friend and colleague Narendra Mittal emerged from MP Deep Gogoi’s residence after meeting the chief minister, their faces revealed the outcome of the meeting. Gogoi confirmed it by refusing to speak to the battery of reporters outside his sibling’s residence.

An aide told them that the chief minister did not wish to talk to the media.

Mittal said Gogoi repeated the promises he had made to Ram’s family before he went on a trip to the US. “He said the release of Ulfa prisoners (as demanded by the outfit) is in the hands of the Centre and that he would try his best to secure Ram’s release. He said nothing new.”

Ram’s friend pointed out that Delhi did so more than a decade ago to save Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s abducted daughter Rubaina.

Ram’s family will meet Union minister Sharad Pawar tomorrow morning. Congress president Sonia Gandhi will be their last resort.

“The government has the opportunity to let him die once again, this time for real,” Padmavati said.

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