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ULFA makes Rs 15 lakh extortion demand on RBI

By K Anurag in Guwahati
July 07, 2006 09:49 IST
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The banned United Liberation Front of Asom has made a Rs 15 lakh extortion demand on the Reserve Bank of India regional office in Guwahati through its regional director, raising concerns among security agencies and posing questions to the on-going peace initiative.

According to a police source, the extortion notice addressed to the RBI regional director in Guwahati was handed over to the sentinels at the RBI officers' colony in Guwahati four days ago through a messenger.

The matter was immediately brought to the notice of the state police and Union Home Ministry officials by the RBI authority.

The extortion demand, signed by one Hira Sarania, self-styled commander of the 709 battalion of the ULFA, asked the regional director of the RBI to "contribute" an amount of Rs 15 lakh to the militant group.

The letter was signed on June 25. The police is certain that it was the signature of ULFA commander Hira Sarania who has been deeply involved in ULFA's extortion drive of late even as the peace initiative to bring the militant leaders to direct talks with the government of India was going on.

It was for the first time the ULFA made an extortion demand on any of the RBI officials posted in Guwahati.

The extortion notice was accompanied by another letter sigtned by another ULFA leader identified as one Vikram Singh, platoon commander of the 3rd platoon of the B Company of the 709 battalion.

The self-styled platoon commander stated that he had been instructed to get in touch with the RBI in connection with the "request for contribution".

The RBI was requested to pay up the amount to help ULFA carry forward its "revolution" and the regional director was asked to keep the matter confident to "ensure safety for himself and his family". The banned outfit warned of "stringent measures if the RBI failed to comply with the demand".

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K Anurag in Guwahati

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