Bangladesh: Hearing into arms haul case begins

The former chiefs of Bangladesh`s intelligence agencies and ULFA chief are among the 11 accused.

Dhaka: A Bangladeshi court on Monday began hearing into the country`s biggest ever arms haul case of 2004 when 10-truck loads of weapons destined for banned ULFA hideouts in India were seized.

The accused, including former Home Minister
Lutfozzaman Babar and Motiur Rahman Nizami, the chief of the
Bangladesh`s largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, were
produced before a Chittagong court, Star online said.

The court fixed August 8 as the next date of hearing.
The former chiefs of Bangladesh`s intelligence
agencies and United Liberation Front of Assom (ULFA) chief
Paresh Barua, are among the 11 accused in the chargesheet.

It also directed the authorities to submit a report on
the arrest warrants of Barua and former additional secretary
of industries ministry Nurul Amin, who are absconding, the
report said.

After three and a half years of investigation,
Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on June 26 submitted
two supplementary charge sheets in two cases -- one for
smuggling firearms and the other under the arms act.

Earlier, officials familiar with the investigation
said their probe found Chinese firm NORINCO to have produced
the weapons but they could not identify the ship that carried
the illegal consignment into Bangladeshi territory.

Officials had said Barua oversaw the abortive
smuggling process in connivance with the influential people in

The seized weapons, including over 27,000 grenades,
150 rocket launchers, over 11 lakh ammunitions and 1,100 sub
machine guns, were unloaded at a government jetty belonging to
state-owned Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Company Ltd (CUFL) to
be reloaded in trucks destined for northeastern frontiers.

The previous interim government in 2008 ordered a
re-investigation into the case amid allegations that there was
a deliberate attempt to suppress facts by the administration
under the BNP-led government.


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