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Ulfa donors’ list drawn up
Published on 13 Nov. 2009 12:55 AM IST
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Interrogators quizzing arrested Ulfa “finance secretary” Chitrabon Hazarika have begun drawing up a list of contributors to the outfit. “Some of the names of companies they (the interrogators) have gleaned from Hazarika have come as a surprise,” a source close to the interrogators said, adding that more information was expected from the Ulfa leader. Hazarika was arrested along with Ulfa’s “foreign secretary” Sasha Choudhury. They were held in Tripura while trying to infiltrate into India from Bangladesh and were subsequently handed over to Assam police. However, the Ulfa leadership claims that they were picked up from Bangladesh by unidentified persons and were handed over to the BSF along the border on November 1. During the interrogation, it transpired that Hazarika had sufficient knowledge about Ulfa’s finances although the outfit’s commander-in-chief, Paresh Barua, and his deputy, Raju Barua, too, kept track. Haziraka told interrogators that several companies operating in Assam were still paying to the Ulfa coffers, reported The Telegraph. “Most of these payments are made through hawala transactions,” a source said. Unlike the Tata Tea episode where the company was dragged into a controversy for allegedly paying for the treatment of Ulfa leader Pranati Deka at a Mumbai hospital, there is no official document to nail any of these “big payers” to book them, the source said. “As these payments were made through hawala transactions, there is no official document or proof yet to nail these companies,” the source said, adding that more investigation would be required to build up cases against them. Hazarika said although Ulfa cadres operating in the state have been collecting funds for the organisation, these do not amount to much. “Only small time businessmen, including local traders, are being served with extortion notices. The multinational companies are making payments directly to the leadership and these are done thorough hawala transactions,” the source said, quoting Hazarika. The Ulfa “finance secretary” also told interrogators that a few surrendered militants were helping the outfit in its fund collection drives. “A few surrendered militants have been acting as conduits of the banned outfit and striking deals with companies,” the source said. Not only are these former militants paying one per cent of their income to the outfit’s coffers but also acting as negotiators between Ulfa and the big payers. The revelations come amid reports that group of newly trained Ulfa cadres in Myanmar have been asked to enter Assam and launch attacks. Talks possible in conducive atmosphere: Arrested Ulfa leader GUWAHATI, NOV 12 (PTI): The United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) wants a “respectable solution” to Assam’s problems and is ready for talks with the Centre if they are “held in a conducive atmosphere”, an arrested leader of the banned group today said. “We want a respectable solution to Assam’s problems and if the government shows interest, the Ulfa leadership can sit for negotiations for peace and stability of the state,” arrested ‘cultural secretary’ Pranati Deka told reporters after she was produced at the chief judicial magistrate’s court here in connection with a case filed against her by the state government. She said the recent handing over of two top leaders -- her husband and the group’s ‘finance secretary’ Chitrabon Hazarika and ‘foreign secretary’ Sasha Choudhury -- by the Bangladesh government “does not mean that Ulfa has been weakened”. Assam police’s Special Operation Unit interrogating the duo currently under its custody was concentrating mainly on Hazarika to find out the sources of Ulfa’s funding, a top police official said. Hazarika has claimed before interrogators that several companies operating in Assam are still paying to the Ulfa and most of these payments are made through hawala, sources said. Hazarika has also claimed that some surrendered Ulfa militants are helping the group in fund collection. “We are investigating these claims but as these payments have been made through hawala transactions, there is no official document or proof to nail these companies,” the official said.

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