Ahead of the polls in Assam next year, one of United Liberation Front of Asom top leaders, Anup Chetia, was handed over by Bangladesh to India following years of negotiation between India and Bangladesh. After the BJP's poll drubbing in Bihar, this could be a significant achievement that the BJP is likely to tout, when it seeks to challenge the Congress-led Tarun Gogoi administration in assembly polls in 2016.
PTI reports that Chetia, who was in Bangladesh since his arrest by the neighbouring country's police in 1997, was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation this morning, due to the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and through the active involvement of NSA Ajit Doval. The development follows on the heels of the deportation to India of underworld don Chhota Rajan, one of country's most- wanted criminals, who was on the run for 27 years.
Chetia, a founding member of ULFA and its general secretary, is wanted for murder, abductions and extortion in India.
He had sought political asylum in Bangladesh thrice in 2005, 2008 and in 2011 after Bangladesh police arrested him in December 1997 and was subsequently handed seven years of jail terms by two courts for cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.
Despite the expiry of his term, Chetia was in jail under a 2003 High Court directive, asking authorities to keep him in safe custody until a decision was taken on his asylum plea.
Former CBI director Shantonu Sen told CNN IBN, "Chetia was wanted for a long time and I think our National Security Advisor (NSA) has taken up all the long pending crucial custody of wanted terrorists. This is the second custody after Chhota Rajan. It is good to see that the government is serious on wanted terrorists and criminals."
Bangladesh and India have an extradition treaty since October 2013 that allows the two countries to exchange convicts or undertrials as and when required. It is however unclear if Chetia has been sent to India under this treaty.
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