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Even if his govt falls, Mahanta wants to bring terrorists to book

Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta is determined to bring terrorists in the state to book. Even if it means the fall of his government.

Asked whether the upsurge of terrorism could be linked to a bid to topple his government, Mahanta told The Observer of Business and Politics that it did not bother him even if such was the case. "Even if there is such a bid, it will not succeed and even if my party is toppled, the people will vote it right back to power. So I will fight anti-national elements and their collaborators fearlessly."

Mahanta said the state government was investigating the truth behind allegations that Tata Tea executive Brojen Gogoi and other company officials had links with ULFA. His government, the chief minister indicated, was seeking legal advice before deciding on the next course of action.

Allaying fears expressed by heads of other companies having tea gardens in Assam, Mahanta said his government would ensure the security of every group which did business in the state. "If there is any threat to them from any corner, we will protect them. But any hobnobbing with any of the underground outfits or anti-national elements will not be tolerated," the chief minister asserted.

The Intelligence Bureau meanwhile has begun inquiries into the phone-tapping episode. It appears more or less certain that a communication gap, born of distrust, existed between a section of Union home ministry officials and those of the state government. This was confirmed, sources indicate, after the revelation of a telephonic conversation between Union Home Secretary K Padmanabhaiah and state Director General of Police, K Hrishikesan on September 12.

In course of that conversation, Padmanabhaiah directed Hrishikesan to go slow on the investigation into the Tata Tea-ULFA nexus. When details of the conversation later leaked to the media, Padmanabhaiah reportedly made efforts to to transfer Hrishikesan to an insignificant post, only for that bid to be thwarted by the chief minister.

'Tata Tea are difficult customers'
Tea & Terror
Mahanta vows tough action against cos backing ULFA
'If they don't meet and talk, in about 15 years the North-East will be in darkness'
Other Assam reports

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