Dhaka to prosecute 2 former spy chiefs smuggling arms for Indian rebels

Dhaka, May 18 Two former Bangladesh Army generals, who headed the National Security Intelligence (NSI), will be prosecuted for facilitating the landing of Chinese arms meant for insurgents in India’s northeast and for trying to smuggle these arms into India.

Major General Rezakul Haider Chowdhury and Brigadier General Abdur Rahim, both retired, were picked up from their Dhaka homes Saturday night. They were produced before a judge in Chittagong port town, where the country’s biggest arms haul took place in April 2004.
Another NSI official, Shahabuddin Ahmed, a former Bangladesh Air Force wing commander, has confessed that he had acted under directions of the two generals who had received orders from “political bigwigs” in Dhaka, media reports said Monday.
Ten truckloads of arms and ammunition were brought from China in a ship owned by Salahuddin Qader Chowdhury, a lawmaker of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) that is led by Begum Khaleda Zia, the country’s prime minister at that time.
The arms cache was off-loaded not at the main port but at the jetty of a state-owned fertiliser firm. It was detected by guards before it could be transported to Assam in India for the internationally outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
India has alleged that ULFA’s top leadership is hiding in Bangladesh and carries out its operations with the help of the local authorities.
Dhaka denied this as long as Zia was in office and suppressed the arms haul case, Bangladesh Today said Monday.
The police recovered different types of sophisticated firearms, including 27,020 grenades, 840 rocket launchers, 300 accessories of rocket launchers, 2,000 grenade launching tubes, 6,392 magazines and 1,140,520 bullets from the jetty of the Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Limited April 2, 2004, New Age newspaper said.
The case was revived by the caretaker government that ruled during 2007-08 and Gen Chowdhury was made to resign from the army.
Since the change of government in January, the case is being pursued on a daily basis in a Chittagong court.
ULFA chief Paresh Barua, said to be hiding in Bangladesh under the name of Zaman, figures in the statements made to the court.
Shahabuddin Ahmed told the court that he and Rahim had visited the Aga Rahman Yousuf Group, a Dubai-based business conglomerate, which sent the arms and ammunitions from China to Bangladesh for ULFA use.