Kolkata serves as a key transit point for NE rebels (2 Thai women arrested with huge sum of US dollars for NSCN-IM)

Jun 1, 2011, 04.27am IST TNN

KOLKATA: The arrest of two Thai women at the Kolkata airport, carrying a huge sum of US dollars meant for assisting Naga rebels, goes to prove again that the city remains a hub for different insurgent outfits. The interrogation report of top Naga leader, Anthony Shimray, also reveals that he had paid overseas arms suppliers through Kolkata-based hawala rackets on a few occasions.

On Saturday, customs officials at Kolkata airport seized $60,000 in cash from Amphai Thongthang, a 33-year-old Thai woman who landed in Kolkata from Bangkok accompanied by her sister Parcee. Thongthang was handed over to revenue intelligence officers who found that Thongthang, the widow of a Naga youth, was supposed to deliver the cash to an NSCN(IM) operative. Probe has also revealed that her husband was a carrier of a Naga rebel outfit. Thongthang followed him after he died in November last year. Investigation revealed that she got the cash from a Naga night club owner in Bangkok.

Intelligence officers believe that NSCN(IM), gets a major chunk of its total funds from Thailand and the Philippines where it enjoys considerable clout. Most of the funds reach the hands of their Nagaland-based counterparts either through the hawala route or carriers like Thongthang. Intelligence reports say a good number of NSCN sympathizers trade in illicit drugs in Thailand behind the fa’ade of being in the travel and tourism business.

The UN reports also hint that a considerable portion of the money earned from opium production in the golden triangle of South East Asia (Laos, Myanmar and Thailand) goes to fund North East-based insurgent outfits who have direct links with drug trafficking rackets.

The UN report says that these three countries produced opium worth $219 million in 2010. Napoleon Thockchom, a member of Manipur-based militant outfit Kanglaipak Communist Party (KCP), was arrested from New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on April 2 with Ephedrine drugs worth `2 crore. The nexus between drugs and militancy was evident from this arrest. NSCN(IM) insiders admit to having held important organizational and reconciliation meetings with rival Naga outfits in Kolkata in the past thus, corroborating the fact that the city has been a key transit point for all major NE insurgent outfits.

Earlier in 2009, National Investigation Agency (NIA) busted a multi-crore scam in north Cachar hills of Assam where insurgent outfit DHD (J) siphoned off a few crores from the government fund.  TNN

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