A huge cache of arms and ammunition, meant to be supplied to a newly formed underground outfit of the Gorkhas in Darjeeling was seized in Assam on Saturday. Two people have been arrested in this connection.
They have been identified as Ganesh Chettri, resident of Baksa district of Assam, and Umesh Kami. The two allegedly have links with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
The discovery has led to increase in surprise checks along the West Bengal border, especially in the districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar. Police are conducting surprise checks at all major thoroughfares, bus stands and other transit points here.
The seizure comes at a time when the state is already battling cross border terrorism from Bangladesh and has become a hub for terrorist cells.
A team of the West Bengal police and intelligence agencies has reached Assam and is interrogating the arrested accused. “They were arrested on Sunday and have been charged under relevant sections of the Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code. They are being interrogated and will be produced at the Bongaigaon Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Assam on Monday,” Ranjan Bhuiyan, Superintendent of Police, Chirang, told HT. The police are expected to plead for their custody.
On the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, a vehicle bearing a Darjeeling number plate (WB74A 4788) was intercepted in Chirang district of Assam while on its way from Dimapur in Nagaland to West Bengal. A routine search by the police led to the discovery of the cache of arms and ammunition.
“We have sent a team from West Bengal to Assam. We cannot divulge information as it would hamper investigations,” said Javed Shamim, Inspector General (North Bengal.)
A police team led by Darjeeling SP Akhilesh Chaturvedi also visited Gale in Darjeeling on Sunday in connection with the case. When questioned on this Chaturvedi preferred to remain tight lipped. “We are checking the intelligence inputs and necessary action will be taken according to what we find,” added Chaturvedi.
The seized cache includes highly sophisticated M16 Rifle, seven pistols, including 0.32 and 9mm, 300 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 80 rounds of AK47 ammunition, 198 rounds of M16 ammunition and 16 rounds of bullets for 0.32 pistol.