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Ctg Arms Haul Case

Liakat refuses to give statement to magistrate

Former NSI official Major (retd) Liakat Hossain refused to give a statement to a Chittagong magistrate yesterday, though he had earlier disclosed to interrogators vital information regarding the arms and ammunition seizures in Chittagong and Bogra.

An accused in the much talked-about Chittagong arms haul case, he was taken to Metropolitan Magistrate Osman Gani's chamber at around 3:30pm.

But after around 25 minutes, he decided not to say anything under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, reported our office in the port city.

In interrogations a few days before, Liakat said either or both of ex-NSI director general Brig Gen (retd) Abdur Rahim and ex-director Wing Commander (retd) Sahab Uddin had links to the 10 truckloads of arms seized in Chittagong in 2004, sources close to the Task Force Interrogation (TFI) cell told the Daily Star.

About the ammo recovery at Kahalu in Bogra in 2003, he said the shipment was meant for ULFA, an insurgent group in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, and being carried through Bangladesh from one place to another in India.

He also said Sahab Uddin had good relations with ULFA and Pakistan intelligence agency.

Meanwhile, Major General (retd) Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury, another former DG of National Security Intelligence (NSI), told interrogators that as DGFI director then his understanding was that the ammunition and explosives seized at Kahalu belonged to an Indian insurgent group.

He said the group was using the Bangladesh territory to have the consignment shipped from one part of India to another.

Rezzaqul also said he does not know if the four ULFA members and their Bangladeshi accomplice arrested in this connection were grilled by the joint interrogation cell (JIC) at the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI)

Liakat on the other hand claimed all the arrestees were quizzed at the JIC.

Of the five, Altu Mian, the Bangladesh national, was arrested after his name was found in a prescription left at the scene.

Following up information gleaned from him, the four ULFA operatives were arrested at Jhenigati in Sherpur district and in another place [unspecified].

The arrestees told the investigators that they had received the ammunition and explosives at Bethchhari border point in Sylhet.

Liakat, ex-NSI deputy director (technical), said that after he had returned to Dhaka office from Bogra, a tense Sahab wanted to know the identity of the arrestees.

The arms hauls began to hog the headlines again after Sahab last month gave a confessional statement linking former NSI chiefs Rahim and Rezzaqul to the deadly consignment seized at the jetty of Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Company Limited five years back.

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