Dhaka: Bangladesh is set to indict
controversial former minister Lutfuzzaman Babar in an abortive
smuggling case of 2004 under which 10 truckloads of arms
believed to be destined for ULFA hideouts in India`s northeast
were seized in this country`s biggest-ever weapon haul.
A process was underway to indict Babar, minister of state
for home in the former BNP-led four-party regime of Khaleda
Zia, as a major accused in the arms haul case, the state-run
BSS news agency reported today.
"We have found crucial evidence against several
high-profile people during the process of extended
investigations ... we have also found clues to his (Babar`s)
involvement in the weapon haul," the report said quoting a
senior police officer familiar with the investigations.
He said several high-profile suspects, including ex-home
secretary Omar Faruque, who were earlier interrogated as part
of investigations in the case pointed their fingers at Babar.
Babar is already in jail to face several other criminal
and graft charges.
The officer said former Industries Minister and
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Maulana Matiur Rahman Nizami too
was likely to be "shown arrested" in the case. He was
interrogated in custody on Saturday last for suspected
involvement in the haul.
JI was a crucial ally of Zia`s past Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP)-led four party alliance.
The development came as investigators said they nearly
completed the "further investigations" into the case in line
with directives of a Chittagong court after police submitted
chargesheet against 43 people.
The consignment of 10 truckloads of weapons was seized in
2004 despite suspected efforts of certain "influential
quarters" for its safe passage to ULFA hideouts in
northeastern India through Chittagong, but the case was
shelved for years after the apparently "accidental" seizure,
media reports said.
The smugglers used a jetty belonging to state-owned
Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Company Ltd (CUFL) for unloading
the weapons and reloading in trucks destined for northeastern
The subsequent military-backed interim government in 2008
ordered the re-investigation amid allegations that there was a
deliberate attempt on the part of the then BNP-led government
to suppress facts to weaken the case and make the two police
sergeants, who had actually seized the consignments at CUFL
jetty, as `scapegoats`.