Four kidnapped Tripura bank officials remain untraced

Agartala, Nov 26 Despite a manhunt launched by security forces, four Tripura Gramin Bank officials kidnapped by armed miscreants remained untraced, police said on Sunday.

"The counter-insurgency trained TSR (Tripura State Rifles) and other security forces continued their combing operations in West Tripura, Khowai and Gomati districts to look for hostages (kidnapped on Friday night)," Gomati Superintendent of Police Bijoy Debbarma told IANS.

He said: "We will continue the manhunt till the four officials are located. We have asked the Border Security Force to intensify vigil along international borders so that the four are not whisked away to Bangladesh by their captors."

Senior police officials, including state police chief Akhil Kumar Shukla, are supervising the combing operations, launched immediately after the bank officials were abducted while returning to Agartala in a vehicle through Teliamura in Khowai district.

These include Tripura Gramin Bank Taidu Branch Manager Tanumoy Bhattacharjee, 30, Sujit Chandra Dey, 28, and Raktim Bhowmik, 31, in a car and bank official Subrata Debbarma, 32, on his motorcycle. Both vehicles also remain untraced. 

The officer said police was not sure whether the abduction was carried out by armed miscreants or a terrorist group.

"The exact location from where they were kidnapped is not yet known," Debbarma said.

Families of the officials said an unidentified person called up and demanded Rs 20 lakh each for the release of the bank staff.

Police and intelligence officials had earlier apprehended that terrorists may resume activities in the state ahead of the February 2018 assembly elections.

Police said there was not a single extremist-related incident in Tripura since 2015.