An Indian citizen who returned home rich on a Bangladesh passport has been arrested on suspicion of being linked to a terror group in the subcontinent.
The police in southern Assam’s Karimganj district arrested Alamgir Hussain last Thursday on suspicion that the wealth he has acquired – not matching his known sources of income – could have been funded by jihadist groups such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
Karimganj district borders Bangladesh.
Hussain, 38, had left his hometown Badarpur in 1998 and returned ten years later on a Bangladesh passport and left soon after marrying a local woman. He came back to Badarpur in 2013 to live permanently.
Inputs from local intelligence made the police suspicious about Hussain. The suspicion grew stronger after the man purchased a house and several other properties in the area worth more than Rs 40 million in the last few months.
“He confessed that he slipped into Bangladesh almost 20 years ago and acquired a Bangladesh passport to go to Singapore. We are trying to find out how he managed to make so much money in a short span of time,” Karimganj district superintendent of police Pradip Ranjan Kar said.
Hussain was arrested for alleged anti-national activities after the police found he had come with an Indian tourist visa on a Bangladeshi passport.
“We have informed the Bangladesh high commission about Hussain and sought information about his activities in that country,” Kar said, not ruling out the man’s possible link with JMB and other terror groups.
Several suspected JMB members – both Bangladeshi and their Indian associates – have been arrested in Karimganj district during the past five years.
The police feel Hussain might have obtained the Bangladesh passport illegally, similar to what Bangladeshi infiltrators have been doing in India.
There have been several cases of Bangladeshis crossing over to acquire Indian passports in a bid to migrate to west Asia and southeast Asia for work.
In September last year, police in Karimganj district arrested 13 people – four residents of Sylhet in Bangladeshi and nine locals including a Congress leader named Manowara Begum – on charges of running a fake passport racket.
Investigations revealed such rackets were flourishing in Nagaon, Hailakandi and Silchar districts of Assam besides Karimganj, and that a section of police officers were selling verification reports for up to Rs 2 lakh per person.
On February 12, two Bangladeshi nationals were arrested in Odisha’s Balasore for allegedly faking Indian nationality to obtain passports. Two others managed to flee before police could catch them.
The foreign nationals, identified as Sheikh Mofijul and Sheikh Riyajuddin, claimed they belonged to Kadarayan village in Balasore district. But officials found they could neither tell their address nor speak Odia.
The apparent ease with which Bangladeshis cross over into India was underlined when a Bangladeshi national, wanted in a triple murder in his home district Comilla, was caught in southern Assam’s Cachar district in January this year.
The man, Sohail Ahmed alias Omar Nasir alias Saju, was lying low as a construction worker after making his way to Cachar via Tripura.
“We initially suspected Sohail was one of the several JMB members suspected to have been involved in the Dhaka cafe attack. But interrogation revealed he had run away to India after being involved in a triple murder case in Bangladesh,” Assam director general of police Mukesh Sahay said.
In May 2013, the Cachar district police had arrested Moibul Haque, a 39-year-old Bangladeshi national wanted for a double murder in London in 2006. Acting on an alert from the British High Commission in mid-2012, Haque was booked under section 14 of the Foreigners’ Act for illegally entering India.