BHUBANESWAR: Close on the heels of arrest of Maoist leader Ajay Chanda in Kolkata, which had brought to the fore the links between CPI(Maoist) and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur, a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday nabbed a member of the PLA at Gopalpur in Ganjam district.
Ebatambi Asem, who was supposedly looking after external affairs of the PLA, was here to meet his wife, who apparently works with Geological Survey of India, sources said.
An NIA team arrived here secretly and picked up Asem and left, sources in the police said. “From what we have gathered, he does not have any local links in the State,” sources said.
Asem’s arrest comes more than a month after Maoist leader Chanda, also known as Indranil, was held at Kolkata before NIA took up the case. Chanda was the one who had allegedly admitted to links between the Maoists and the North-East outfit. Since he had acknowledged that PLA supplied arms from its Manipur base to Maoist pockets in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha, the NIA is believed to have trailed the links to reach Asem.
Although the link between PLA and CPI (Maoist) has been doing the rounds for quite sometime, security analysts do not attach much importance to it saying there is no evidence as yet to claim that arms and ammunition are supplied by North-East outfits to the Naxals in eastern India.
“From the seizures and other intelligence inputs, we have not come across arms and ammunition being used by the Maoists which have their source in outfits like PLA,” said an analyst.
In fact, the North-East insurgent groups are believed to have strong links with the golden triangle of smuggling touching Myanmar, Thailand and Laos where arms and drug peddling are rampant. “Arms from those region have not been found to be used by the Maoists in this region yet,” said the analyst.