However, police are maintaining that they are neither aware of any such demand by the banned militant outfit, nor about the phone call to family members
Tinsukia: Proscribed militant outfit ULFA (Independent) on Tuesday called the family members of Gouranga Kumar Deb, 55, an employee of Shankar Tea Estate in Assam's Tinsukia district who was kidnapped from the factory premises on October 12, claiming that the victim was in their captivity.
Confirming the development, a highly-placed official in the security agencies told EastMojo, "Ulfa (Independent) called the victim's family and claimed that Gouranga is in their captivity."
"The caller, who identified himself as a member of the outfit, informed the family about his health. They complained that the management of the tea garden is not cooperating with them to secure his release," the source added.
This is for the first time Ulfa (I) officially claimed their role in the abduction of the tea garden employee.
According to sources, the phone call was a tactic to build up pressure on the tea garden management to pay ransom. "Ulfa (I) has served them extortion demand of Rs 2 crore," the official added.
However, the police are maintaining that they are neither aware of any such demand by the banned militant outfit, nor about the phone call by Ulfa (I) to the family members.
Talking to EastMojo, Tinsukia SP Shiladitya Chetia said, "I cannot confirm the development as I am in a remote area overlooking the operations underway to rescue the victim."
According to sources, joint operations are being carried out by the police, Indian Army, CRPF and COBRA commandos but they are yet to make any breakthrough.
"The group has managed to move out of Assam with the victim and there are chances that they have sneaked into Myanmar to avoid heat of the operations," the source added.
The fresh abduction has created a fear psychosis among the business community, particularly tea gardens in the remote areas of upper Assam.
Attempt to reach the garden management turned futile.