Bangladesh arms case: ULFA leader, ex-ministers get death penalty
Top ULFA leader Paresh Barua, one ofIndia's most wanted militants, two former ministers and as many army generals were among 14 people sentenced to death by a Bangladeshi court today for the country's biggest weapons haul, nearly 10 years after the seizure.world Updated: Jan 30, 2014 17:41 IST
Top ULFA leader Paresh Barua, one ofIndia's most wanted militants, two former ministers and as many army generals were among 14 people sentenced to death by a Bangladeshi court today for the country's biggest weapons haul, nearly 10 years after the seizure.
Barua, currently a fugitive whose whereabouts are unknown, was given the death sentence in absentia in the sensational case of the seizure of 10 trucks containing 4,000 weapons and over 11 million bullets in April 2004.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief and former minister Matiur Rahman Nizami and ex-junior minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar in the then Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led government were also sentenced to death by the court in Chittagong.
"The Metropolitan Special Tribunal-1 has handed down death penalty to 14," private Samoy TV said soon after Judge SM Mojibur Rahman delivered the verdict in a crowded courtroom amid tight security in the southeastern port city.
Barua, who headed the banned United Liberation Front of Asom's (ULFA) military wing, now leads a faction of the group opposed to talks with the Indian government. ULFA for long has had bases and business interests in the Chittagong area.
Two of the convicts, Barua and former additional secretary Nurul Amin, were tried in absentia.
Two former generals also given the death penalty are then DG of the apex National Security Intelligence (NSI), Brig Gen Abdur Rahim, and former Directorate General of Forces Intelligence director, Maj Gen Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury, who later became the NSI chief.
All the accused were tried under the Arms Act for illegal possession of firearms and the Special Powers Act of 1974 for weapon smuggling.
The verdict came nearly a decade after the seizure of the weapons destined for ULFA hideouts in northeastern India through Bangladesh territory.
Around 1,500 boxes containing submachine guns, AK-47 assault rifles, submachine carbines, Chinese pistols, 840 rocket launchers, 27,000 grenades and 11.41 million bullets were seized from 10 trucks in the early hours of April 2, 2004.
Local media reported the weapons were smuggled from Hong Kong via Singapore.