New Delhi, Apr 12: United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) 'Commander-in-Chief' Paresh Baruah was no longer in Bangladesh, a top official of that country said today. ''Let me assure you that Paresh Baruah is no longer in Bangladesh,'' Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Director General Major General Shakil Ahmed said. He was speaking to journalists after signing the Joint Record of Discussions with Border Security Force (BSF) Director General A K Mitra here this morning.
The remarks gave enough indication that the ULFA chief might have been in Bangladesh some time ago. Baruah is reported to personally own or has controlling interests in several businesses in Bangladesh, including a tannery, a chain of departmental stores, garment factories, travel agencies, shrimp trawlers and transport and investment companies. It is also reported that Baruah entered Bhutan 15 days ago after entrusting his deputy Raju Baruah with the responsibility of setting up new camps in Bangladesh and transit camps in Garo Hills of Meghalaya.
Maj Gen Ahmed said both India and Bangladesh were actively working together in flushing out criminals and terrorists from each other's territory. ''We do not want terrorists and criminals from the two countries take refuge either in India or Bangladesh. We do not want that terrorists and criminals should make either country a sanctuary,'' he said.
About another ULFA leader Anup Chetia, wanted in India in several murder cases, the BDR chief said there were too many legal complications in his deportation. ''Besides, there is no extradition treaty between India and Bangladesh. There are several cases pending against him in Bangladesh courts and that is why we cannot deport him so far.
It (deportation) may be initiated after the court proceedings were over,'' Maj Gen Ahmed said.
Chetia, who along with two associates were arrested in Bangladesh in December 1997, faced charges of illegal entry into the country, possession of foreign currencies and forged Bangladesh passports.
At the five-day India-Bangladesh Border Coordination Conference which began here on April 7, New Delhi emphasised on the need for reciprocal action from Dhaka regarding handing over of listed Indian criminals, including those insurgent leaders, including Baruah, against whom Interpol had issued red corner notices.
On its part, India had recently handed over seven wanted Bangladeshi criminals to the authorities in Dhaka.