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Bodo militants name tea
firm in payoff case
Vinayak Ganapathy in Guwahati |
May 08, 2003 15:37 IST
Two arrested leaders of the banned militant outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland have identified tea majors Williamson Magor or George Williamson as the company which paid them Rs 10 lakh in cash in Kolkata.
Sunil Brahma and Indramohan Basumatary alias David Warris were arrested in Kolkata on April 30. They were brought to Guwahati on Wednesday, where they were produced in a court. Both of them have been remanded to Assam police's custody for 14 days.
Brahma, talking to reporters while leaving the court, said:. "We met a senior official of McNeil and Magor, Mr Ambuken, on April 29, to collect Rs 10 lakh."Tea industry sources said that following a split in the original McNeil and Magor company, two separate tea firms -- Williamson Magor, run by the B M Khaitan family, and George Williamson, owned by a British group, -- came into existence.
Reports from Kolkata said, Ambuken, the person identified by the arrested duo, works for George Willamson. However, a company official refused any comment saying London will react to the reports at an appropriate time.
Earlier, reports from Kolkata had quoted the arrested militants as saying that at least four tea companies with interests in Assam were paying them protection money regularly.The NDFB, with several camps in Bhutan, is active in the northern Assam area, where several companies have prestigious tea estates.
This is the second time in the last six years that a militant group in Assam has named a tea company in a pay-off case.
In Septemebr 1997, the Assam police had accused Tata Tea, the world's largest integrated tea company, of having funded another banned outfit, the United Liberation Front of Asom.