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Meghalaya Police apprehended the "mastermind" and suspected leader of the coal mafia, Abdul Ahad Choudhury, from Nongpoh in Ri Bhoi district on Wednesday.
Choudhury is currently in the custody of East Jaintia Hills (EJH) police who are investigating an old case against him at Khliehriat police station in EJH.
Police believe Choudhury, a resident of Sutarkandi in Karimganj district (Assam), to be one of the primary masterminds in the alleged illegal transportation of coal from Meghalaya to Barak Valley in Assam.
When contacted, the Superintendent of Police of Ri-Bhoi, S.P.N. Lamare confirmed the arrest.
“He was arrested from Nongpoh a few days back,” Lamare said.
“Since there was a case registered against him at Khliehriat, we handed Choudhury over to Khliehriat police,” he said.
Superintendent of Police of EJH Deepak Kumar Palecha confirmed the transfer of the suspect to Khiehriat from Nongpoh police station.
“He is under our custody. I will provide more details at a later stage once the investigation is over,” Palecha said on being asked about the details of the case.
According to a section of people privy to the coal scam developments, Choudhury had absconded for many months. Others believed he had died.
Recently, there have been some developments related to the alleged illegal coal transport from Meghalaya to Barak Valley.
Locals had stopped a few trucks in different areas of Barak Valley and conducted searches. The trucks were loaded with coal but without valid documents.
Assam Police had arrested Choudhury in July 2018 and during a search at his residence, recovered a diary which had the names of some top administrative officials and political leaders (who Choudhury had paid).
In the same year, the Assam government gave the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the green light to probe into the alleged illegal coal trade from Meghalaya to Bangladesh via Barak Valley.
In March 2020, the CBI registered a case against Choudhury under various sections for fraud, forgery and for voluntarily endangering the lives of others.
(Edited by Andre Kongri)