Pact will facilitate handing over of ULFA leader Anup Chetia

Stepping up their cooperation in security-related matters, India and Bangladesh on Monday decided to expedite the signing of an extradition treaty under consideration for some time.

Such a treaty would facilitate the handing over of Anup Chetia, general secretary of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) from Bangladesh.

The ULFA leader has served his sentence in a jail in Dhaka since his arrest there in 1997 on the charge of entering the country without valid documents.

India assured Bangladesh of extending all possible cooperation to track down the killers of the Father of Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is also father of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

“The draft [extradition treaty] has been shared and we are going through it. We are scrutinising it,'' Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh told a joint press conference with his Bangladesh counterpart Monzur Hossain at the end of the two-day Home Secretary-level talks.

Mr. Hossain said the pact will be signed “at the earliest. That is our position with utmost sincerity.''

Key pacts

A joint statement issued after the talks said the two countries agreed to put into operation a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), transfer of sentenced persons, and Agreement on Combating Organised Crime and Illegal Drug Trafficking.

The three key agreements were signed during the visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January last year, setting the stage for the security cooperation.

Asked about the possibility of deportation of Chetia, Mr. Hossain said some legal issues had hampered it. However, he hoped that the matter would be resolved soon and that the ULFA general secretary would be handed over to India “at the earliest.”

The joint statement said both countries reaffirmed “their commitment not to allow the territory of either country to be used for any activity inimical to each other's interests.”

Both sides also agreed to implement the coordinated Border Management Plan signed during the visit of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to Bangladesh in July this year.

India appreciated the cooperation extended by Dhaka to prevent smuggling of Fake Indian Currency Notes.

Both sides agreed to develop mechanisms to speed up verification of the nationality status of prisoners lodged in jails of either country, particularly of those who have completed their sentence, to enable their early repatriation.

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