''This time the extortion notice was served on a RBI Director not addressed to the RBI as a whole unlike in ONGC's case. However, their aim is the same,'' said a senior intelligence officer, who released a copy of the extortion note to the media.
The incident has rocked all as only last week the ULFA has shown the green signal for direct talks after the successful third round of negotiation through their nominated Peoples' Consultative Group (PCG).
''The extortion note addressed to the Regional Director of the RBI was handed over to the security guards of the RBI colony three days back by a messenger and the RBI authorities have already taken up the issue with the police,'' intelligence sources said.
The ULFA has so far kept mum and local sources informed that clarifications, if any, will come from the top of the hierarchy through e-mail. However, police sources said it is for the first time in the state that such a note was issued to the Reserve Bank.
The letter, signed by the Commander of the 709 battalion of the ULFA, Hira Sarania, asked the Regional Director of the RBI to contribute Rs 15 lakh for the ULFA. The letter was signed on June 25 and the police has authenticated the signature of the ULFA leader as Sarania was allegedly involved in a number of extortion cases in recent days.
The letter was accompanied by another letter written by one Vikram Singh, who identified himself as the platoon commander of 3rd platoon (709 battalion) of ULFA. Singh said he was entrusted with the task of keeping in touch with the RBI in connection with the ''request for contribution''.
He said the RBI should pay the amount sought for in the interest of carrying forward the revolution and warned that if the demand was not complied with, the outfit would be forced to take stringent measures. The letter further asked the Regional Director of the RBI to maintain confidentiality of the letter to ''ensure safety of you and your family.'' The ULFA had sought to extort Rs 500 crore from the ONGC, a fact already admitted by the arrested ULFA leader Mrinal Hazarika during his interrogation.
Police officials said the matter was being investigated and the senior officials of the RBI have been provided personal security officers.
The ULFA is on a huge extortion drive in Guwahati and this has been confirmed by the security agencies, which said that beside RBI, at least 15 big business houses have also been served with extortion notices over the past few days but most of them were reluctant to file formal complaints.
UNI MT SP SRS ND1609