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Bangla arrests with ‘ISI’ link

Calcutta, Nov. 18: Nine Bangladeshis — all suspected ISI agents — were rounded up from opposite a movie theatre near New Market, late on Saturday night, days after deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani charged Bangladesh with doing very little to contain anti-India activities on its soil.

Two of them (47-year-old Liaquat and 30-year-old Arman from Dhaka) were arrested and remanded in police custody. The others were handed over to Bangladeshi intelligence agencies, officials said, explaining that they could not be arrested as there was no specific charge against them.

Liaquat and Arman were operating for the Islamic Aikya Front of Bangladesh and were trained in terrorist activities by the ISI, officials added. Indian intelligence agencies’ “internal logbooks” listed the front as a cover organisation for al Qaida activists now taking shelter in Bangladesh, a Central Bureau of Investigation deputy inspector-general said in Delhi.

“We have specific information that Arman, Liaquat and the others had come here with plans to spread terror,” a Calcutta police official said. “We have recovered several incriminating documents, including maps of defence and prohibited areas,” he added.

The detective department used information provided by the director-general of defence field intelligence’s office in Bangladesh to cement its allegation that the nine rounded up were here to promote the ISI cause. They had supplied the city police with a confessional statement given by ISI-suspect Baduddin Naseem, which listed the activities of his accomplices.

Calcutta police officials said Naseem had exposed Arman’s and Liaquat’s links with the ISI and giving details on how they travelled to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for training in arms and jihadi operations earlier this year.

Showcasing it as a major breakthrough for the city police, detectives said Liaquat and Arman between themselves had more than 40 cases of murder, extortion, dacoity and robbery ranged against them in Bangladesh.

City police detective department deputy commissioner Soumen Mitra said policemen had seized counterfeit Indian currency and sophisticated arms from them.

during the rounding up.

Liaquat, Arman and the other seven had crossed into India recently through the porous border in North 24-Parganas and Malda, officials said. Liaquat and Arman told interrogators that one Harish Ahmed of Mohammadpur Noorjahan Road in Dhaka, an ISI suspect, had helped them obtain the passports and cross the border. All nine changed their names after arriving in the city and the Bangladeshi passports they had on them used their fake identities, officials said.

“Some of them were put up at their local contacts’ residences in Garia and in Ripon Street and Collins Lane areas,” one of them said. Liaquat and Arman were staying at a rented apartment at Garia Gardens which a Calcutta contact had helped them obtain. Sleuths are now monitoring the movement of the people who provided them with places to stay.

Officials said those detained for interrogation were Killer Abbas (a professional murderer from Pallabi), Sada Sintu (from Gopalganj), Pitchy Hannan (from Tezgaon in Karanbazar), Tanaj Mullah (from Madaripur in Purana Dhaka), Nannu (from Kathalbagan), Kala Jahangir (of Mirpur) and Mantu (from Sutrapur). All of them are in their 30s or early 40s.

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