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5 suspects freed on Babar's order

Ex-cop tells court in 10-truck arms cases

Police had detained five suspected activists of United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) in connection with the seizure of 10-truck arms and ammunition in 2004 and later freed them upon receiving an order from former state minister for home Lutfuzzaman Babar.

Ex-OC of Karnaphuli Police Station Ahadur Rahman told this to Metropolitan Special Tribunal-1 here yesterday in his deposition as prosecution witness in two cases in this connection, said court sources.

Former commissioner of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) SM Sabbir Ali had initially barred Ahadur from lodging any case over the seizure of the arms cache.

When Sabbir said that the high-ups of the then government were informed about the matter, Ahadur argued it would be risky for both of them if no case is filed over the matter, as the news of the arms cache had already spread at home and abroad through the media.

Being convinced by the argument, the CMP commissioner permitted Ahadur to file the cases -- one each under the special powers act and arms act.

The now retired OC was the first investigation officer (IO) in the cases, which were later handed over to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Chittagong on instructions of the higher authorities.

On April 2, 2004, around 1,500 wooden boxes containing submachine guns, AK-47 assault rifles, submachine carbines, Chinese pistols, rocket shells and launchers, hand grenades and bullets were seized from two vessels at the jetty of Chittagong Urea Fetiliser Limited.

“When I reached the CUFL jetty, sergeant Alauddin and sergeant Helaluddin produced Abul Hossian and Hafizur Rahamn before me. Abul and Hafizur said the high-ups of the then government were aware of the matter and we [police] should release the arms cache brought for Ulfa,” mentioned the witness.

In the mean time, havildar Golam Rasul of Bandar police outpost and sergeant Helaluddin nabbed five suspected Ulfa activists, but later they were freed on the orders of Lutfuzzaman Babar, he added.

Ahadur later came to know that Abul Hossain was National Security Intelligence (NSI) director Major Liakat Hossain.

“During the investigation of the cases, I found that smuggler Hafizur Rahman, NSI field officer Akbar Hossain Khan, DG Brig Gen Abdur Rahim and directors Wing Commander Shahabuddin Ahmad and Major Liakat Hossain were involved in the incident,” he told the court.

Earlier on July 6, 2005 and January 17, 2006, Ahadur had testified in the court as the plaintiff and IO in the cases.

He told the court that he could not disclose this information in his earlier depositions due to pressure from the then government.

After completion of his one-and-a-half hour deposition around 5:00pm, the court adjourned its proceedings till November 26.

Eleven accused in the cases including Lutfuzzaman Babar and former industries minister Matiur Rahman Nizami were in the dock during yesterday's proceedings.

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