B`desh hands over 3 suspected LeT operatives to Pak

Bangladesh has handed over three suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives to Pakistan, a year after they were arrested on suspicion of plotting attacks on Indian and US embassies, officials said.

Dhaka: Bangladesh has handed over three
suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives to Pakistan, a year after
they were arrested on suspicion of plotting attacks on Indian
and US embassies here, officials said on Tuesday.

"The three were under `preventive detention` for the
past one year and were freed and deported yesterday in line
with negotiations between our foreign ministry and the
Pakistani embassy here," Deputy Commissioner of Detective
Branch of Police Minirul Islam said.

He said a Pakistani embassy official received them at
the Dhaka Central Jail while they were later were flown back
to their country.

Jail officials said Pakistani nationals Syed Abdul
Kaiyum Azhari alias Sufian, 22, Mohammad Ashraf Alias Zahid,
24, and Mohammad Monwar Ali, 30, were freed on orders from the
Home Ministry.

Sufian was a mechanical engineering student at Islamic
Institute of Technology in suburban Gazipur and the two others
were diploma engineers.

Police earlier said despite having their valid
passports and visas they could not show any work permit or
explain source of funds for their living expenses when they
were arrested.

Police and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion
arrested some 20 suspected Pakistani and Indian nationals in
the past one year for their suspected links to the Pakistan-
based LeT terror group as part of an intensified campaign
against militancy but most of them were accused of carrying
fake currencies believed to be used to carryout their
activities in India.

"But we now understand the LeT and other such foreign
militant groups now do not think Bangladesh to be a good place
for their operations in view of a tough government stand...
they earlier tried to use Bangladesh land for their operations
in neighbouring India," Islam said.

He, however, said they gathered evidence that the LeT
had links with Bangladeshi militant outfits, particularly
Harkatul Jihad (HuJI) for their local shelters.

The RAB troops last month had arrested two LeT
operatives, five days after police detained the alleged chief
operative of the outfit Khurram alias Mohammad Selim along
with two Pakistani accomplices.

Security officials, however, have long been saying
that the domestic as well as the foreign militants in
Bangladesh were now in a dilapidated state under an
intensified security campaign.

"I tell you this much now that... they are now in a
dilapidated state in view of our coordinated anti-militant
campaign (and) in fact LeT now virtually has no activities in
the country," senior police officer Hassan Mahmud Khondkar had
told a news agency last month. According to officials, the militant groups like Jammu
and Kashmir Liberation Front, LeT and Jaish-e-Mohammed,
operated almost undisturbed from 1991 to 1998 and then between
2001 and 2005, the periods when ex-prime minister Khaleda
Zia`s Bangladesh Nationalist Party was in power with
Fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami being its crucial ally.

Police and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion
said the detained foreign operatives of these groups admitted
that they were largely being patronized by Pakistani
intelligence agencies and while they found Bangladesh-based
Harkatul Jihad (HuJI) as their local host.

Earlier reports said some of these groups were
generating funds for their operations selling counterfeit
Indian currencies in India while the counterfeit Indian rupees
and US dollars were mainly being forged in Pakistan and
carried to Bangladesh via Dubai.