Ulfa chief Paresh Barua, who faces death penalty in Bangladesh in the 10-truck arms haul cases, is now in China, an Indian newspaper reported yesterday.
The Times of India quoting intelligence sources said Barua had been living in Rui Li town of China possibly with a woman friend for the past two years. His wife and two sons live in Bangladesh, the report added.
All the information was unearthed after Barua made a call last week from his China hideout to one of his key deputies, Jyotirmoy Barali, who looks after a camp in Myanmar for the Indian separatist group United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa), sources said.
The call was made following uncertainty over a bag containing several sensitive documents including a phone directory.
A Chittagong court on Thursday awarded death penalty to 14 people including the Ulfa chief for smuggling in 10-truck arms in Bangladesh in 2004.
According to intelligence sources, the bag was in the custody of Partha Gogoi, assistant finance secretary of Ulfa who was executed by the Barua faction in mid-January after being accused of betrayal.
Ulfa (Independent), the faction led by Barua, has executed almost a dozen cadres in last three months, accusing them of being traitors.
The bag containing several SIM cards, a few lakh rupees, some ammunition, and a phone directory is now believed to be safely in the custody of Barua loyalists in Myanmar.
There were indications that both Ulfa factions were at least enjoying free access into China, and recently seemed to be working together with some others for strategic reasons.
However, they said the Chinese did not officially seem to provide any overt support to these groups.
For long there were indications that Indian insurgent groups in the northeast were getting some of their weapons from China.
Anthony Shimray, who is in Indian custody, was among those agents who provide these arms.
The groups are already active in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh, where they are exhibiting interest in political issues.
The two districts are strategically located, next to or with easy access to Myanmar, Assam, Nagaland, China etc.