Tinsukia: The United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) —ULFA (I) on Saturday released one of the two abducted employees of New Delhi-headquartered Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited, over 100 days after their abduction on December 21.
According to the latest information, the banned outfit let go of 51-year-old Pranab Kumar Gogoi near Longvi village of Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district at about 12:30 pm on Saturday.
Gogoi — a resident of Assam’s Sivasagar district was employed as drilling superintendent with Quippo — and 35-year-old Bihar native Ram Kumar — who worked as a radio operator — were kidnapped from a Quippo rig in Changlang on December 21 and taken to an undisclosed location in neighboring Myanmar.
Superintendent of Changlang Police Mihin Gambo confirmed the development and said, “A team of Arunachal police, which had gone deep inside the jungles, has rescued Pranab Kumar Gogoi. We are interrogating him.”
However, Arunachal Police has no information on the whereabouts of Ram Kumar till the time of filing this report.
An official said insurgents who had kidnapped the two had made it clear earlier that they would be released at separate locations. A Quippo official, however, said Ram Kumar is likely to be released today. “He is on his way.”
Quippo, the Delhi-based oil drilling company, has three oil rigs in the northeast, including Assam.
Intelligence sources said the militants freed one of the abducted employees at Longvi under Nampong police station, across border pillar number 172 on the Indian side.
“The development came after hectic negotiations between ULFA (I) and Quippo senior officials over the extortion demand and payment of the last leg of the negotiated money on April 1.”
The outfit had demanded Rs 20 crores from the company to release their employees. However, there is no official word on whether ransom has been paid to secure release of the employees or the quantum of the amount paid.
The kidnapping episode over the past months has seen many twists and turns with ULFA (I) announcing to execute the abducted employees after talks with the company failed and the deadline of February 16, set by the outfit to secure release, crossed.
A statement issued by Assam Rifles later on Saturday said a border patrol of Assam Rifles in South Arunachal Pradesh intercepted an individual crossing the India-Myanmar border in Changlang District, during border domination operations on April 3.
“Individual was identified as Pranab Kumar Gogoi, an employee of Quippo Oil and Gas Infra Ltd, who was earlier kidnapped from Inau, Arunachal Pradesh on Dec 21, 20, by ULFA(I). The individual has been handed over to Arunachal Pradesh Police at Longvi, Arunachal Pradesh,” the Assam Rifles said.