TEMPLE TREASURE RIDDLE
GUWAHATI/MIRZA, April 19: With the ‘vanished hidden treasure’ in Rani tea estate continuing to be the hot topic of discussion, senior army intelligence officials and the South Kamrup district police on Tuesday visited the spot for inspection.
However, the army intelligence officials refused to talk to the media.
Police superintendent of South Kamrup district Prasanta Saikia too declined to reveal much, citing sensitivity of the issue. He, however, said, “The case is two years old. Since the issue has re-surfaced, we visited the spot to investigate.”
Army and police sources have informed that they are collecting information about Jiten Kalita, a SULFA member, whose me has figured prominently in the matter. The PIL filed by former army intelligence officer Manoj Kumar Kaushal in the Supreme Court has mentioned Kalita as the informer who tipped him off about the ULFA treasure. Kalita has been med as one of the 17 respondents in the PIL.
Meanwhile, Dinesh Das, a local peasant leader of Rani, has claimed that Manoj Kumar Kaushal and Jiten Kalita met him in June 2014 when Kaushal asked Das if he had any information about the ‘treasure’. However, Das said that he denied having any knowledge on it.
“When I denied knowing anything about it, Kaushal told me that soon he will move the Supreme Court. They even offered me a share of the treasure if I gave them information. But since I had no knowledge about it, I denied,” said Das.
In his petition to the apex court, Kaushal has alleged that ULFA’s secret booty of Rs 300 crore in cash, 300 kg gold and two AK-47 rifles was stashed away in a cellar under the Kali temple idol in Rani tea estate, but it was spirited away by SULFA men ‘in connivance’ with top police officials on the night of 31 May, 2014 — a day before an army search team reached the site to discover a tunnel dug right under the temple. But according to Dinesh Das, the tunnel had been dug on the night of June 2 and some workers in the estate informed him about it the next day. That same day on June 3, he filed an FIR at Rani police outpost after consulting the then Kamrup superintendent of police.