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Assam tea companies in trouble again
G Vinayak in Guwahati |
May 03, 2003 19:18 IST
The spectre of getting caught funding banned terrorists groups has come back to haunt tea companies in Assam.
Two National Democratic Front of Bodoland terrorists, Sunil Brahma and David Waris, arrested in Kolkata on Wednesday, have named at least four tea companies as a major source of funds of their outfit.
These companies, with headquarters in Kolkata, are now faced with fresh charges.
According to reports from Kolkata, corroborated by police officials in Guwahati, the NDFB terrorists used to collect rupees, convert them into dollars and leave for Assam.
The terrorists were arrested from a hotel and Rs10 lakh was found in their possession.
The Kolkata police said this was the 'protection money' given to the terrorists by the tea companies.
"We cannot reveal the names of the companies at this moment, but it can be said that these are tea companies that have gardens in Assam," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detective Department) Soumen Mitra was quoted as saying in Kolkata newspapers.
"Unfortunately, none of these companies had lodged complaints with the police that they were having to pay protection money. But the two arrested rebels have revealed to us the source of their funds," Mitra said.
An Assam police team is interrogating the duo in Kolkata. The two terrorists are expected to be brought to Guwahati for further interrogation after May 6, when their judicial custody gets over in Kolkata.
In September-October 1997, the Assam government had charged Tata Tea, the world's largest integrated tea company, with funding the United Liberation Front of Asom.