Swarup Jyoti Chetia at Dibrugarh police station. Picture by Avik Chakraborty
Dibrugarh: Security forces on Monday claimed to have averted a Pathankot-like attack on Chabua Air Force station, 25km from here, by arresting an Ulfa (I) linkman.
An army release said Swarup Jyoti Chetia, associated with a news channel and a vernacular daily and suspected to be an Ulfa (I) linkman, was arrested from his house at Chabua at 1am on Saturday in a joint raid by the army and police following specific information about his involvement with the militant outfit.
A case (No. 10/18) was registered against him at Chabua police station under Sections 120 (B)/121/121(A)/103 of the IPC read with Sections 10/13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. He was interrogated at 9th Rajputana Army camp here by officers of the Research and Analysis Wing, Intelligence Bureau, Military Intelligence and State Intelligence Bureau.
The release said Swarup was passing sensitive information about security forces and suggesting targets for extortion to Ulfa (I). He had passed information about Chabua air force station, ONGC, Neepco and other government installations to Ulfa (I) militant Bhaskar Gogoi alias Astitwa Asom, with whom he was acquainted since his school days at Assam Vidyapeeth, Chabua.
A top army source said Swarup was in contact with Astitwa since the past three months over phone. He was tasked by Ulfa (I) to collect information on aviation-carrying turbine fuel (ATF) tankers entering Chabua Air Force station to plan sabotage activities and he had been informing Ulfa (I) about the movement of army and air force vehicles plying on AT Road.
“He has confessed to having planned a Pathankot-like attack on Chabua air force station and other government installations with the Ulfa (I) leader ahead of Republic Day. The plan was to plant improvised explosive devices on ATF tankers which enter the air base,” he said.
“Ulfa (I) is trying hard to make its presence felt in Upper Assam and is now targeting the youth to work for them as linkmen,” a source said.
Swarup also told interrogators that he had helped Ulfa (I) to identify targets for extortion and the outfit was planning to extort businessmen Munim Phukan and Shyam Gohain of Chabua.
He was, however, released on Saturday on conditional bail because of public pressure, a police source said.
Sources said an oil tanker bound for Dikom storage unloading point had crashed at the railway track barricades, adjacent to the fencing of the air force station, on Saturday. While the driver told interrogators that it was an accident, security agencies are not ruling out Ulfa hand.
Avik Chakraborty Telegraph India