GUWAHATI: Three officials of Assam’s Excise Intelligence Bureau (EIB), sent from Guwahati to Upper Assam’s Golaghat district to take stock of the flow of illicit liquor from Arunachal Pradesh to Nagaland, were killed while as many others injured in a mysterious road mishap late Wednesday night.
The mishap occurred when their car (Tata Sumo) collided with a truck (Dumper) on National Highway 39 at Morongi in Golaghat’s Numaligarh.
When the locals rushed to the site, they found the car on fire. The truck’s driver and handyman had fled the scene leaving behind their vehicle which bore Nagaland registration.
Inspector Sumu Maibongsa and constable Ramen Bongjang died on the spot. Assistant inspector Harekrishna Kumar succumbed to his injuries at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.
Two of the three injured persons were admitted to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH). The third injured person was also being brought here. Their condition was stated to be critical.
The families of some victims sniffed a conspiracy in the incident. They suspected that the officials were targeted by people who were involved in the smuggling of illicit liquor from Arunachal to Nagaland which is a dry state.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered a probe into the incident by the Commissioner of Upper Assam. If the car caught fire after the mishap or it was set on fire will be also probed, a source in the excise department said.
The EIB sleuths, who were camping in Golaghat, had gone out on an operation when the mishap occurred. They were not accompanied by local officials of the department.
The state’s Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said this aspect would be probed.
“Why they were not there will be part of the investigation. A team, led by an additional commissioner (of excise department), has reached Golaghat. It will also conduct a probe,” he said.
In the past two months, 14 trucks, laden with illicit Arunachal liquor valued at Rs.8 crore, were seized by the authorities in Golaghat district. Barring two cases where the occupants of the vehicles managed to flee, all the other accused persons were arrested.