Bangladesh will soon hand over Anup Chetia, detained key leader of ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) to India, which has been pressing for his repatriation for a long time.

Bangladesh’s Home Minister Sahara Khatun stated this on Wednesday, close on the heels of her Indian counterpart P. Chidambaram’s visit to Dhaka during which he had asked Bangladesh to hand over the ULFA General Secretary “as early as possible”.

Her comments also came ahead of the September visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh.

“I don’t think there is any obstacle in handing him (Chetia) over to India ... but definitely there are procedures in extraditing someone who is in jail,” Ms. Khatun told PTI.

Asked what legal procedure would allow Dhaka to hand over Chetia to India in the absence of an extradition treaty, Ms. Khatun said “I can’t explain to you the details right this moment but I can tell you both Bangladesh and India could exchange the people wanted in their own country maintaining the legal procedures.”

“Mr Chetia has expired his term in jail in Bangladesh ...still he is in jail and some procedures will have to be followed to return him,” Ms. Khatun said.

Chetia was arrested in Bangladesh in 1997 and is under detention on completion of his jail term for cross-border intrusion.

Indian authorities have given to Dhaka a list of 50 of their nationals, who are now allegedly hiding or detained in Bangladesh, seeking their return.

“Anup Chetia’s name is on the top of the list,” Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder told newsmen.

The issue of Chetia’s repatriation also figured during External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna’s visit here last month.

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