Bangladesh said on Monday it is preparing to send Abdul Rauf alias Daud Merchant, an associate of mob boss Dawood Ibrahim who was convicted of the murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar, to India.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said Merchant, who was arrested in 2009 for illegally entering Bangladesh, would be sent to India after he completes his jail term.
“A process is on to send him back,” Khan said in Dhaka. He said the government would send back “foreign criminals”, including Merchant, to their respective countries.
Merchant was convicted by a court in Mumbai in 2002 for the 1997 murder of Gulshan Kumar. He fled India after he was granted furlough by the Bombay high court in 2009.
He was arrested in Bangladesh after he entered the country without any valid documents. Merchant was convicted for intruding and illegally staying in Bangladesh and given a five-year prison term. When he completed the sentence, he was arrested again in December 2014 over possible terror links.
The home minister’s remarks came amid reports that Dhaka would hand over Merchant to India in exchange for opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Salahuddin Ahmed.
Ahmed went missing in March last year from Uttara area of Dhaka at a time when he had been sending anti-government statements to the media. Two months later, he was found in Shillong city of northeast India, more than 350 km from the border with Bangladesh.
His family said he was picked up by security officials. Ahmed said a group of unknown people “abducted” him but he had no idea what happened thereafter.
Home minister Khan told reporters that it was irrelevant whether Merchant was being extradited in exchange for Ahmed.
“There are some foreign citizens in Bangladeshi jails. We are talking to the concerned embassies to send them back,” he said.
In November last year, Bangladesh handed over United Liberation Front of Asom leader Anup Chetia to India almost 18 years after he was arrested in Dhaka.