Dhaka, Oct 19: Bangladesh will ask the Indian government to extradite of Bangladeshi criminals hiding in India, at the second annual SAARC meeting of Home Ministers, to be held in New Delhi.
A treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, formation of a regional police forum and a comprehensive mechanism for tackling terror, money laundering and drug and human trafficking will also be discussed in the four-day meet starting from October 23.
''Bilateral discussions are already on to bring back criminals from India. Now the issue is coming up at a multilateral level,'' Local Government Rural Development and Cooperatives Adviser Anwarul Iqbal was quoted as saying by the Daily star yesterday while replying to a query on bringing back 600-700 criminals repotedly to be hiding in India.
He said once the SAARC member countries reach a consensus on Multilateral Legal Assistance (MLA), they can utilise it as an instrument to cooperate on crimes without relying solely on bilateral settlements.
On handing over of Bangladeshi criminals by India, the LGRD adviser said, ''Everything regarding criminal matters will be covered by the Mutual Legal Assistance.'' The Indian government for the first time handed over three criminals to the Bangladesh Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on October 7. The CID officials are hopeful about bringing back two top criminals--Tanvirul Islam Joy and Harris Ahmed alias Hares--from Kolkata next week.
The Bangladesh CID yesterday sent information, including criminal records and photographs of 10 criminals hiding in the neighbouring country.
Following the meetings of Police Chiefs of the SAARC countries on October 23, the Home Ministers will give a final shape to the deliberations on October 25.
SAARC member states will extend legal cooperation among themselves in dealing with arresting criminals and checking drug smuggling and women trafficking.
''SAARC legal experts have already met in Colombo and we will discuss the outcome of that meeting,'' Mr Iqbal said.
The SAARC member states have already agreed in principle to form a police forum -- Saarcpol, and will hold deliberations to give it a concrete shape at the upcoming meeting.
Nepal first proposed the formation of the Saarcpol, on the lines of Interpol and Europol, last year for cooperation in police matters in the region.
The first meeting of SAARC Home Ministers was held in Dhaka in May last year.