FCI executive director alive, identified body of army informer

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS

Guwahati : Authorities in Assam Saturday said Food Corporation of India (FCI) executive director P.C. Ram was alive and the body identified by his son could actually be an 'army informer' killed by militants of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

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"Ram is alive for sure. We had some doubts when we recovered the decomposed body, but when Praveen (Ram's son) himself claimed and identified that the body was his father's we couldn't do much and obliged," Assam police intelligence chief Khagen Sharma told IANS.

"We believe the body which Praveen thought was his father's and later cremated could have been of an army informer killed by ULFA."

The entire episode took a bizarre twist when a caller believed to be Ram Friday afternoon telephoned Praveen in Ghaziabad to say he was alive.

"We are convinced that the caller was my father. He spoke for about 20 minutes with my mother and my sister as well," Praveen, a management student, told journalists.

Ram reportedly told his family on telephone that he was in the custody of the ULFA who kidnapped him from Guwahati April 17.

Police Sunday recovered a mutilated body from Anandpur village in Baska district in western Assam.

Praveen arrived in Baska from Ghaziabad Monday and identified the body. The body was flown to Ghaziabad with the state government according due state honours and paying floral tributes at the airport.

The last rites were performed in Ghaziabad by Ram's family.

"It is always difficult to identify a decomposed body and Praveen might have been a little emotional when he came to identify the body. Maybe under stress, he wrongly identified and claimed the body and we could do very little when a son says it was his father," Sharma said.

Police said they would conduct a DNA test if the family cooperates.

"Since we have some doubts about the identity of the dead body we preserved some tissues during autopsy. Now we can go for a DNA test to dispel any doubts," Sharma said.

"Even after Praveen claimed the body was his father, we on our own continued with the search. Efforts are now on to secure his release with operations on."

The ULFA is seeking the release of two of their jailed leaders in exchange for Ram's release, besides demanding a ransom of Rs.20 million.