Trapped by a Plot
Atop policeman lands in trouble after his brother is arrested in connection with a property dispute
Assam Police (Special Branch) Additional Director General of Police ( ADG) Khagen Sarma has landed smack in the middle of a kidnap-for-ransom row. His younger brother is among those arrested in a property dispute which escalated into a kidnapping drama.
On October 31, a team from the Basistha police station in Guwahati arrested Atul Sarma, Khagen’s younger brother, Pramode Sarma, Atul’s father-in-law and a deputy superintendent of police as well as two police personnel. The charge? Kidnapping 21-year-old Rubul Ali, brother of Wazid Ali who had borrowed Rs 30 lakh from Atul in 2009.
While the ADG washed his hands of the incident, sources in Assam Police say Atul often uses his brother’s help to forcefully grab land. “How am I responsible for what my brother does?” Khagen told
INDIA TODAY. On being asked why Atul got bail immediately while the other accused were still in custody, the ADG feigned ignorance. “Ask the officers handling the case,” he said.
According to the police, Wazid took the money on the promise that he would get Atul a plot of land. After a two-year wait, Atul and Pramode decided to teach Wazid a lesson. On October 30, Rubul was forced into a car in Guwahati to one Yakub Ali’s residence at Borgaon, a village on the city’s outskirts. The kidnappers then called, seeking Rs 50 lakh as ransom. Wazid had already approached the police and on their advice, asked the kidnappers to come to Agile Hospital in the city for the money. Atul walked into the trap.
This is not the first time Khagen’s name has been linked to a case of land-grab. In 2009, Magani Devi Gangwal, 84, of Guwahati filed a case against him for occupying her
KHAGEN SARMA HAS BEEN LINKED TO A PREVIOUS INSTANCE OF LAND GRAB IN GUWAHATI IN 2009 WHICH ALSO INVOLVED HIS BROTHER.
land. According to her son, Khagen’s wife bought the property from three persons who claimed to be Magani’s children. She was shown as deceased though no death certificate was produced by the trio. Khagen himself signed as one of the witnesses to the deal. Magani continues to fight for her land in the Gauhati High Court. It is alleged that Atul masterminded the forged land deal.
“Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has turned a blind eye to Khagen’s reign of terror because of his success against insurgent groups,” says a Congress leader. SSP Apurba Jiban Baruah, however, ruled out the ADG’S role in the kidnapping. “We have arrested nine people. Khagen Sarma has no involvement in the case,” says Baruah.