News Alert

Top of the News


The Courts


States Scan

International News


Lens on Books


     Newsletter Signup

Bangla CID finally ends probe in 2004 ULFA-linked arms haul

Anisur Rahman, PTI
Dhaka, Jun 19 - Bangladesh has completed an extended investigation into its biggest arms haul case of 2004 involving 10 truck loads of weapons allegedly destined for ULFA hideouts in India, with officials saying the probe done over three years and 17 extensions revealed "astounding facts".

"We are now set to submit the supplementary chargesheet based on our (extended) investigations within the stipulated deadline of June 29," a senior official of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) told PTI.

He said the extended information revealed some "astounding facts" and the proposed chargesheet would suggest indictment of several high profile politicians -- now detained

-- and intelligence agency bosses for their role in the abortive weapon smuggling.

The extended investigations were carried out under a court order as the case was initially brought for trial in 2008 before a Chittagong court which declined to accept the investigation report because of ambiguity or incompleteness.

But the court had to extend its deadline 17 times with the CID repeatedly seeking extensions for submitting the supplementary chargesheet as their probe unfolded "revealing facts" behind the haul.

CID officials said their proposed chargesheet, among others, would seek indictment of the now detained former state minister for home Lutfuzzaman Babar of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and former Industries Minister Motiur Rahman Nizami of the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, a crucial ally of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia's past BNP-led four party coalition government.

The eight other suspects included former chiefs National Security Intelligence (NSI) retired brigadier general Abdur Rahim and Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) ex-major general Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury and ULFA leader Paresh Barua.

Barua and another suspect who was an industries ministry official were on the run but the others were already in jail to face the trial in person.

"Like the (Hindu) Goddess Durga, this case too have 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 of the case Kamaluddin had told the court earlier while the investigations were underway.

The 10 truckloads of weapons was seized in April 2004 despite suspected efforts of certain "influential quarters" for its safe passage to ULFA hideouts in northeastern India through Chittagong, but the case was shelved for years after the apparently "accidental" seizure.

The seized weapons, which included over 27,000 grenades, 150 rocket launchers, over 11 lakh ammunitions and 1,100 sub machine guns, were unloaded at a government jetty belonging to state-owned Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Company Ltd (CUFL) to be reloaded in trucks destined for northeastern frontiers.

The subsequent military-backed interim government in 2008 ordered a re-investigation amid allegations that there was a deliberate attempt on the part of the then BNP-led administration to suppress facts to weaken the case.

The reinvestigation process yielded the arrest of several high-profile intelligence officials including former NSI and DGFI chiefs and questioning of a number of senior officers including the then home secretary Omar Faruque.

The investigators also found that the weapons were manufactured at China North Industries Corporation or Norinco, known outside of China for its high-tech defense products, some of which are adaptations of Soviet equipment.

Officials earlier said ULFA leader Paresh Barua oversaw the abortive smuggling process in connivance with the influential people in Bangladesh.

India had earlier repeatedly alleged that India's separatist outfits took refuge in the rugged frontiers of northeastern Bangladesh. The incumbent government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reportedly closed down ULFA camps, evicted several of its top leaders in the past two years. PTI

Would you like to be the first one to comment on this article?

Post your comment

Please fill in the full details below.   Required Fields
Name : *
E-mail : * (will not be published)
Comment : *
Type the code given: *
Home   |   About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Privacy Policy   |  Terms Of Use   |   Sitemap
Copyright © 2011 All rights reserved.