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Dhaka likely to hand over Chetia to Delhi

Bangladesh is likely to hand over United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) general secretary Anup Chetia to India before the visit of its Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, to

Bangladesh in September.

Chetia, whose real name is Golap Barua aka Sunil Barua, Bhaijan and Ahmed, is now in a Bangladesh jail.

The Indian Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Dhaka on September 6-7 to sign a number of bilateral agreements including one on sharing of the waters of the Tista, with

a view to building “a new and forward-looking relationship” with the eastern neighbour.

A top official of the home ministry told The Independent on condition of anonymity that the ULFA leader, whose jail term ended in February 2003, would be handed over to

the Indian authorities under the agreements on Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

The agreements were signed when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited New Delhi in January 2010.

During Sheikh Hasina’s visit, the Indian Prime Minister had requested her to hand over the arrested ULFA leaders, including Anup Chetia, to the Indian authorities.

In return, India agreed to extradite some wanted Bangladeshis, including the two killers of Bangabadhu, Captain (dismissed) Mazed and Risaldar (dismissed) Muslehuddin,

who were believed to be hiding in India or serving terms in prisons there.

The official said that during the scheduled visit of Indian home minister, P Chidambaram, on July 29 in Dhaka, the authorities concerned would finalise how and when the

ULFA leader would be extradited to India.

“Chidambaram is likely to sign the proposed Border Management Plan during his visit to Dhaka, which is aimed at curbing cross-border terrorism along the Indo-Bangladesh

frontier,” the home ministry official added.

Chetia was first arrested in March 1991 in Assam, but was released by the then state chief minister, Hiteswar Saikia.

Later, on December 21, 1997, he was again arrested in Dhaka on charges of violating the Foreigners Act and the Passports Act of Bangladesh.

The main charges against Chetia include illegal entry into Bangladesh, possession of two forged Bangladeshi passports, possession of an unauthorised satellite telephone

and illegal possession of foreign currencies US, UK, Switzerland, Thailand, Philippines, Spain, Nepal, Bhutan, Belgium and Singapore.

A Dhaka court had sentenced him to seven years in jail.

Two of Chetia’s companions, identified as Babul Sharma and Laxmi Prasad, were also arrested along with him.

In the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries, Bangladesh had always turned down India’s requests that Chetia be handed over.

Sources said that on December 7, 2008, Chetia had written to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, requesting refugee status and political asylum in