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Bangla leaders face indictment

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ANANYA SENGUPTA   |   Published 21.06.11, 12:00 AM

Dhaka, June 20: The Bangladesh criminal investigation department (CID) has completed its extended investigation into the 2004 Ulfa arms haul case and will soon submit a supplementary chargesheet that could indict several leaders and intelligence officials of Bangladesh.

The deadline for submitting the chargesheet was extended 17 times by the court as the CID sleuths requested more time for unveiling the “astounding facts” behind the abortive arms smuggling in which 10 truckloads of weapons, reportedly bound for Ulfa hideouts, were intercepted.

It is said to be the biggest arms haul in that country.

CID officials said they would seek indictment of former state minister for home and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Lutfozzaman Babar, former industries minister and leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Matiur Rahman Nizami, who was a crucial ally in ex- Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s BNP-led four-party coalition government, Ulfa leader Paresh Barua, former director-general of National Security Intelligence (NSI) Brig. Gen. (retd) Abdur Rahim and former Director-General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) ex-Maj. Gen. Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury, who have all been detained in relation to the case.

The list of high-ranking officials suspected to be involved in the arms haul does not end here.

The other suspects include former additional secretary of industries ministry Nurul Amin, former managing director of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL) Mohsin Talukdar and its former director-general (administration) Enamul Haque, former NSI director wing commander (retd) Shahab Uddin, former NSI deputy director Maj. (retd) Liakat Hossain and its field officer Akbar Hossain Khan.

Of the 11 suspects, nine are in jail to face trial in person while Paresh Barua and Nurul Amin are on the run.

The CID has sought the assistance of Interpol to arrest Barua.

“Like goddess Durga, this case has 10 hands which are very strong... very influential quarters of the then (BNP-led) government were involved in it who are to be brought to justice with caution,” chief prosecution lawyer Kamaluddin had told the court earlier while the investigations were under way.

Earlier, former industries secretary Shoeb Ahmed, the former chairman of Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation, Maj. Gen. (retd) Imamuzzaman, the former commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police, S.M. Sabbir Ali, and several other intelligence and security officials deposed before a magistrate on the haul.

“Their statements revealed astounding information relating to the involvement of several high-profile people, including Babar, in the haul,” a CID official familiar with the developments said.

The weapons, seized in April 2004, included over 27,000 grenades, 150 rocket launchers, over 11 lakh ammunition and 1,100 sub-machine guns.

These were unloaded at a government jetty belonging to the state-owned Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Company Ltd and were to be reloaded in trucks and sent to India’s northeastern frontiers.

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