Rebati Phukan missing: Sonowal directs DGP to conduct probe; FIR lodged in Geetanagar PS, police find no clue to the incident

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, April 25: Three days after he went missing, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday directed director general of police (DGP) Mukesh Sahay to immediately conduct an inquiry to find out prominent businessmen and former footballer Rebati Phukan.

Rebati Phukan, who was an active member of the erstwhile People’s Consultative Group (PCG), which was formed by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in 2005 to initiate the peace talks with Union government and the outfit,  has been missing from his Guwahati residence since April 22, 2018.

Phukan was staying at a rented accommodation at the third floor of the house of one DN Baruah at Ambikagiri Nagar under Geetanagar police station.

According to reports, Phukan was on his way back to Guwahati from Pune in Maharashtra on April 19 with an ill health. It may be mentioned that he had gone through an open heart bypass surgery recently.

Rebati’s son Kaushik Phukan reached his house in Guwahati and found that the main door of the house was open but the bedroom was locked from outside. They broke the lock and found two cell phones belonging to Rebati Phukan on his bed but no trace was found.

After his family failed to trace or contact him, the police were informed and a missing report was filed.

An official release in Guwahati said the chief minister took strong note of the incident and asked the DGP to look into all facts of the matter and to make all out efforts to trace the whereabouts of Phukan.

United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) C-in-C Paresh Baruah urged the Assam chief minister to launch an investigation into Phukan’s missing. Phukan played a major role in the peace talks process with the ULFA. He also had played a crucial role in bringing ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa to Assam from Dhaka.

In a telephonic conversation with a local news channel, Paresh Baruah said, “Rebati Phukan has a great contribution towards the region and the greater Assamese community. We are shocked at the news of his missing.”

He urged Sonowal, who is also in charge of home department, to launch an investigation into the matter and make its report public.

“Is it an accident or a planned murder?” Baruah also expressed doubt.

“We don’t believe that it is an accident, rather it may be a planned murder. I urge the Sonowal government to launch a proper investigation in this matter and make the report public. People of the state should know what happened with Rebati,” Baruah also said.

He also recalled Rebati Phukan as a great player of the state of his time.

Speaking about the incident, ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia said, “Locals informed me that he went out for a morning walk at around 6:30 am on April 22 wearing shorts but after that he was not seen anywhere by anyone.”

Currently, the police are investigating the matter and are trying to trace Rebati through his call records.

Meanwhile, director general of police (DGP) Mukesh Sahay said the police are launching all out effort to trace out Phukan. “We have been studying CCTV footage and alert has been sounded in all police stations to trace him out,” Sahay said.

 

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