In a new twist, an Assam Police constable was arrested on Monday from Tinsukia district for his reported involvement in the kidnapping of three ONGC technical staffs by ULFA-I militants on April 21, officials said.
Police arrested two people and Constable Basanta Buragohain while two of his colleagues, also suspected to be involved in the abduction case, are now absconding, and the security forces are looking out for them.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that three persons have been arrested so far for being directly involved in the case in addition to some others linked with the banned organisation.
“Investigation indicates involvement of only one police personnel so far but anyone found directly or indirectly involved in this case will be seriously dealt with as per law. All relevant facts are bound to come out on debriefing of the apprehended Basanta Buragohain,” the police chief tweeted.
He said that Assam Police would spare no culprit involved in this case. “Meanwhile, effort to trace out and rescue the third victim from ULFA-I custody is still going on,” Mahanta said.
Three technical personnel of the state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation were kidnapped by the militants of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent from a rig site at Lakwa in eastern Assam’s Sibsagar district.
An ONGC statement said that the abducted employees were taken away in an ambulance vehicle belonging to it. Later, the vehicle was found abandoned near the Nimonagarh jungles close to the Assam-Nagaland border.
The three kidnapped employees are Mohini Mohan Gogoi, 35, and Ritul Saikia,33, both junior technicians, production, and Alakesh Saikia, 28, a junior engineering assistant, production. Gogoi is a resident of Dibrugarh district and other two employees are inhabitants of Jorhat district.
The Army, along with Assam Rifles troopers, rescued Gogoi and Alakesh Saikia from the clutches of the militants following a fierce encounter late on Friday night, but Ritul Saikia still remained missing.
ULFA-I, headed by commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, in a statement on Saturday said that all three employees were handed over to villagers of Totokchingnyu in Nagaland amidst concerns for their safety. It claimed that Ritul Saikia may have been killed in the crossfire or the army is hiding him.