Manipur militants caught in Bengal with ransom money during raid to recover FICN
The special task force (STF) of the Kolkata Police on Thursday arrested four members of the Manipur-based militant group Zoliangrong United Front (ZUF) and seized from their possession part of the ransom money they collected after abducting the project manager of a private company in Manipur. Two of the militants are women.
The arrests were made during a raid to recover fake Indian currency note (FICN), said a senior officer of the Kolkata Police. The Manipur police have been informed.
The abducted project manager Avijit Dhar, 52, is a resident of Bansberia in Bengal’s Hooghly district.
On Thursday, the STF arrested Isaulang Raime, 29, a resident of Mahur area in Assam’s Dima Hasao district, from the inter-state bus terminus in Kolkata’s Esplanade area and seized from his possession high-quality FICN having face value of Rs 1,50,000. The notes were in the denomination of Rs 2000.
His interrogation led to a raid in Howrah district where two Assamese women Rinsy Kikhi Ponmei, 31, and Jina Rongmei, 29, were arrested along with two men from Manipur, Laishram Jinan, 39 and Rongmei Kamei Athuan, 39. They confessed that they were members of the ZUF. Police recovered from their possession about Rs 35 lakh in cash, some mobile phones and ATM cards.
The militants told the police that they got the money for releasing Avijit Dhar, a project manager with a private company, who was abducted on February 19 from Noney district in Manipur.
Officials who conducted the raids said people coming to Bengal from other states to buy or sell FICN is not a recent phenomenon. Till recently Malda district, especially its Kaliachak community block area, used to be a haven for FICN traders.
On February 25, three Bihar residents, who are now based in Mumbai, were arrested by the STF from the same Esplanade area with FICN having face value of around Rs 40 lakh. The accused, Md Shahid, Md Salim Shaikh, and Anjar Shaikh were remanded in police custody till March 11. They are all from the Kishangunj area of Bihar and currently live in Mumbai, Kolkata Police officers said.