KLO with German rifle

Alipurduar, Feb. 14: A German-made assault rifle was recovered from an arrested KLO militant's house on the border with Assam last night, the first seizure of the weapon from a member of the banned militant group in Bengal.

Police said the Heckler and Koch 33 could fire 750 rounds a minute and could also be used as a grenade launcher. The police also seized 300 rounds of live cartridges and four grenades ' used for the HK33 ' from Pradeep Barman's house at Shimul Tapi.

The 20-year-old Pradeep Barman, alias Raghu, had been arrested from near Kamakhyaguri railway station on Monday and 12 SIM cards and around Rs 1.2 lakh was recovered from him. He was remanded in police custody for seven days.

"We interrogated Raghu and received vital information from him. The rifle, live cartridges and the grenades were recovered from a bamboo bush near Raghu's house. The rifle can be used as a grenade launcher also," said Amit P. Javalgi, the superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri.

The SP said KLO militants were active in Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts of Assam and the HK33 rifle had been bought with the ransom the KLO had received after abducting an engineer in the neighbouring state.

Police source said HK33 rifle could spray 750 bullets a minute and had a range of 100 metres. "Although we had seized AK47 and AK57 from KLO militants before, this is the first time that an HK33 rifle was recovered," said a police source.