From Our Correspondent
JOWAI: In a major breakthrough, the East Jaintia Police arrested seven members of a gang involved in killing and kidnapping of many people in the district. Police also recovered a highly decomposed body of a victim from inside a natural cave deep in the forest near Adhunik Cement Plant in Thangskai.
Bhanwarlal Yadav, the victim hailing from Rajasthan, was a coal trader in East Jaintia Hills.
The gang was headed by one Moni Phawa of Wapungskur village and Bakul Ramchiary of Bogribari village in Baksa district of Assam. The remaining five members of the group are from the Bodo community.
The arrested miscreants had unleashed a reign of terror in the district with frequent kidnappings and killings.
“With the arrest of this gang, crime and kidnappings in East Jaintia Hills would be neutralized,” East Jaintia Hills Superintendent of Police, MK Dkhar said.
Police were under pressure to nab these miscreants who were involved in the kidnapping of many people from East Jaintia Hills. With an active role from investigative officer, sub-inspector Wison Roy Nongtdu under the supervision of East Jaintia Hills Superintendent of Police, MK Dkhar and circle inspector, HC Dkhar, the criminals were nabbed in three months time.
The arrested members have been identified as Moni Phawa alias Malik, Bakul Ramchiary alias Lambu, Bailo Basumatary, Anil Boro, Anand Mushahary alias Michael, Justish Daimary and Mahendra Brahma alias Missing who is an NDFB member holding the rank of second lieutenant. He acted as the third person who helped the gang.
It was on May 12, 2013 that the coal trader Bhanwarlal Yadav was kidnapped by unidentified miscreants from Pamarakmai village while he was on his way to Sohkymphor on a motorcycle.
Yadav’s relatives received a phone call threatening to kill him if they failed to pay a ransom of Rs 3 crore. A complaint was filed with Ladrymbai police who registered an abduction case.
During the course of investigation, on May 23, police arrested two suspects Pradip Ramchiary and Binoy Swargiary and recovered a pistol from their possession. However, police concluded that the duo was not involved in kidnapping in Jaintia Hills.
Meanwhiel, through reliable sources, the Investigative Officer learned that two persons working as coal labourers were absconding from a coal mine at Sohkymphor village. Two days later, police also learned that the absconded persons were arrested in Dispur, Assam in connection with illegal possession of arms. The duo was identified as Bailo Basumatary and Anil Boro.
Police brought them to East Jaintia Hills on June 1 and through Bailo police learnt that they have a well organised gang which was involved in many kidnappings in the District. He also revealed that the gang was led by Moni Phawa and Bakul.
Police succeeded in arresting Phawa on June 13. The leader of the gang confessed to his involvement in several kidnappings and murder.
According to Police, Moni revealed that he had kidnapped and murdered an ice cream vender from Ladrymbai in 2012 and his body was dumped in River Myntdu. Phawa also revealed that he along with his group also kidnapped and killed two munshis (manager to businessmen) from Lad-Jarain and dumped their body in a place called Umthe, few kilometres away from Umpleng (Jaintia Cement).
According to Police, Phawa is a hardcore criminal who tried to mislead the Police on several occasions. The members of his gang used his mobile phones and vehicle to kidnap people and he was the one who sponsored everything for them.
On the night of June 13, police arrested another suspect identified as Anand Mushahary alias Michael and raided his rented house at Moowakhu near Khliehriat. Police recovered a traveling bag containing school certificates etc. of one Bakul Ramchiary during the raid.
On further investigation police came to know that mostly all phone calls received by relatives of the victims are from Golaghat, Assam.
Meanwhile, the relatives of Yadav had already paid an amount of Rs. 8.5 lakh to Mahendra Brahma. Brahma, a second lieutenant with the banned NDBF surrendered before Golaghat Police just after he received the demanded amount of Rs. 8.5 lakh but failed to release the victim.
Relatives of Yadav went to Golaghat and identified him as one of the kidnappers as he was the one who received the ransom paid to the gang.
East Jaintia Hills Police later brought the NDFB cadre to Khliehriat and according to police Brahma had collected the ransom not for the gang but for himself.
“After collecting Rs. 8.5 lakh he surrendered himself thinking that he could lead a better life in the near future,” police said.
Police also informed that Brahma acted as a third person for the gang whose job was to call the victim’s relatives for ransom and threaten to kill the victims if they failed to pay the demanded amount.
Brahma also confirmed to police that the gang of Moni Phawa and Bakul Ramchiary was behind all kidnappings in East Jaintia Hills.
Though Brahma was the one who used to call the victim’s relatives, he could not provide any information about the whereabouts of Yadav and in many occasions police were left clueless during the course of investigation.
While developing new sources, police learnt that one Jutish Daimary was also a member of the gang. Police were able to collect more information about Daimary who was a married man staying in a rented house in Laitumkhrah, Shillong. Later, with the help of SP (City) Vivek Syiem and his team, Daimary was arrested on July 10.
Daimary revealed that he was present on the day when Yadav was kidnapped. But later he fell sick and returned to Shillong carrying the victim’s mobile phone with him and lost contact of his accomplices. Daimary too could not provide any information about Yadav’s whereabouts.
Clueless again, the East Jaintia Hills Police with the help of Baksa Police in Assam arrested Bakul Ramchiary alias Lambu, the second leader of the gang, from his native village of Bagribari on August 12. Bakul was thereafter brought to Khliehriat where he confessed that he along with other members of the gang killed Yadav and dumped his body inside a natural cave deep in the jungle behind Adhunik Cement Plant, Thangskai.
However, he too misled the police initially. On August 14, he led police to Umthe to locate Yadav’s body but later revealed the real location.
On the same day he led the police team to the cave but due to increase in water level inside the caves, police could not trace the body.
The police team, however, recovered the highly decomposed body the following day.