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Purulia arms drop was an international conspiracy, says home minister
November 20, 2007 16:39 IST
The 1995 Purulia arms drop in West Bengal villages was the outcome of an international conspiracy to clandestinely procure arms and air-drop them for some activists of the Anand Marg, a socio-spiritual organisation, Home Minister Shivraj Patil informed the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
"The Central Bureau of Investigation has issued lookout notices against 14 accused, 13 of whom are still absconding," he said in reply to a written question by Basudeb Acharia of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
"Kim Peter Davy alias Niels Holck Nielsen alias Niels Christian Nielsen, the 14th accused, was traced in Denmark in February 2002 and a formal extradition request was sent to Denmark on October 18, 2002," he added.
A large unauthorised consignment of arms was dropped by a Latvian Antonov An-26 aircraft in Jhalda, Ghatanga, Belamu, Maramu villages of Purulia district on the night of December 17, 1995.
Several days later, when the plane re-entered Indian airspace, it was intercepted by an Indian Air Force MiG-21 and forced to land in Mumbai.
Five ethnic Russian Latvian crew of the aircraft, sentenced to life imprisonment in the case, were pardoned by the Indian government and handed over to the Russian authorities in July 2000.
They had acquired Russian citizenship while in Indian custody. The sixth crew member, Peter Bleach, a British national, was released on February 4, 2004, via a presidential pardon.