MMT commander Toophan Singh

Itahari, December 21:

The police have arrested Madhesi Mukti Tigers army commander and central committee member Rameshwor Mandal alias Toophan Singh with weapons from Itahari in Sunsari district this morning.

According to SP Rajendra Man Shrestha at District Police Office, Sunsari, Singh was nabbed with three home-made pistols and a bullet from a petrol pump here. The police also arrested MMT cadre Dukhad Singh, along with Toophan Singh. The police have seized Rs 5 lakhs from the duo, according to a source at the Sunsari DPO. A special police team from Eastern Regional Police Office, Biratnagar, arrested the duo, acting on a tip-off that they are seeking donation from a businessman in Itahari.

Toophan Singh had become public at a press conference in Itahari on Wednesday, saying the MMT was ready to sit for talks with the government. He had told mediapersons that a talks team had been formed at his initiative. Meanwhile, Jyoti Jha, mediator for the talks with the Tarai outfit, blamed the government of disrupting the environment of talks by arresting persons who had become public to sit for talks. Saying that Toophan Singh had become a public at his call, Jha also appealed to the government for his release.

However, MMT’s central coordinator Rajan said the party had expelled Toophan Singh from the party a week ago. Issuing a press statement, Rajan said Toophan was no longer associated with the MMT.

Sunsari CDO Durga Bhandari of Sunsari said Toophan Singh was arrested because the DAO had been informed of his expulsion from the MMT. He said discussion with Home Secretary was on for necessary legal action against Toophan Singh.