Bangladesh on Wednesday handed over top separatist ULFA leader Anup Chetia, whose extradition India has been seeking for nearly two decades.
Bangladeshi home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told Hindustan Times that authorities handed Chetia over to Indian officials, but kept his whereabouts secret because of safety reasons.
“He has gone to his country as he wanted so. He has completed the jail term here. Now he is gone as per his wish,” Kamal said.
PTI reported quoting highly-placed sources that the rebel leader was deported at the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and through the involvement of national security advisor Ajit Doval. This is a significant development which comes shortly after the deportation of Mumbai underworld don Chhota Rajan from Indonesia.
“PM @narendramodi spoke to Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina. He wished PM Hasina on Diwali & thanked her for the help in fighting terrorism,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a tweet.
61-year-old Chetia, whose original name is Golap Barua, is the founder general secretary of the banned United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), and is wanted for killings, abductions, bank robberies and extortion.
India had been repeatedly demanding Chetia’s deportation for nearly two decades but successive governments in Bangladesh had been refusing to cooperate citing non-existence of an extradition treaty.
Chetia was in Bangladesh ever since he fled India in early 1990s. He had been arrested in March 1991 but the then Assam chief minister Hiteshwar Saikia released him from jail, following which he fled from India, official sources said.
Minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju said Chetia’s deportation would help crack many cases related to the banned outfit.
“Chetia is a top leader of ULFA and his handing over will lead to cracking of many cases. The central agencies and the Assam Police will investigate him,” he told reporters.
Rijiju said there were several issues related to finances and to the setting up of camps in areas of India bordering China and Myanmar that needed to be probed.
(With inputs from PTI)