A week before Paresh Barua, the leader of the anti-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa), was sentenced to death in absentia by a special court in Chittagong over a 2004 arms haul case, he was traced to Ruili in Yunan province of China.
But Beijing denies that Barua was taking protection on its territory.
Citing communication intercepts by Indian intelligence agencies, home ministry sources said Barua had been spotted at a Taga camp across the Naga Hills in Myanmar two months ago and had later moved back to a place called Mome near Ruili just across the border in China.
Taga camps on the western border of Myanmar are used by major north-east militant groups for training against India.
Former home secretary GK Pillai told HT that Barua had moved to Ruili from Dhaka in 2010 and that the Chinese authorities had been given his assumed name, passport details and flight tickets to Kunming in China through diplomatic channels.
“I think he had flown as Kamruddin. We have also seen evidence on Barua through two Indian journalists who interviewed him," said Pillai, who spent nearly a decade overseeing the Northeast before becoming the home secretary.
Top intelligence officials said Barua often travels from Ruili to Taga camps for transportation of arms to his cadre and communicates through satellite phone or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).
Ruili is a border town in China where leaders of Ulfa, People’s Liberation Army of Manipur and the All Tripura Tiger Force were living.
These three groups were involved in the Chittagong arms haul case.
While Pillai does not remember if Barua’s arrest was taken up with China at the National Security Adviser level, his death conviction in the Chittagong case might prompt New Delhi to take up the issue at the special representative talks on February 10-11.