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ISI agent case blows up in police face

Behrampore, June 30: Eight people accused of being ISI agents and waging war against the state were acquitted by the district court here today after police failed to produce a single witness against them.

In his order, judge Sourish Mukherjee said the police had failed to produce enough evidence to nail the alleged spies.

A jubilant Ziauddin Biswas, the main accused, threatened to move the high court against police harassment.

On the night of November 17, 2002, Ziauddin, his wife Ismatara, and his sister's husband Ahasan Habib were arrested from a village in Jalangi, about 250 km from Calcutta. Around the same time, Ghulam Murtaza was picked up from Domkol. The air force police detained data operator Aufan Ukil at its base in Gujarat's Bhuj. On November 23, 2002, he was handed over to Murshidabad police. Rinku Ahmed of Durlabherpara, ex-army man Sahadeb Saha of nearby Chuapara and Emdadul Mondal, a Nadia resident who once worked in the navy, were also held.

Samsuzzaman Biswas could not be nabbed but his name figured in the chargesheet.

Saha died of heart attack in Behrampore Central Jail last January. Murtaza obtained bail six months after his arrest. The rest, who are still in jail, could not hold back their glee as the order was read.

The police claimed in court that they had recovered papers relating to the alleged agents' communications with a man in Dhaka and a map of the Bhuj base. The lawyer for the state today said the police had submitted the documents recovered and the chargesheet on time. 'But none of the witnesses turned up. So, we could not prove that the documents were found in the houses of the accused.'

The lawyer for the accused, Sirazul Islam, said the police were not confident about their case from start. 'The investigating officer could not even tell the court what the ISI meant and what its activities were.'

Murshidabad superintendent of police Sanjay Singh said: 'We tried our best.'

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