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Dhaka Tribune

NIA, high-powered body to probe terror link

Update : 17 Nov 2014, 07:59 PM

The home ministry yesterday formed a high-power committee to liaise with a visiting delegation of India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) in light of allegations that Bangladeshi nationals were involved in the Bardhaman explosion last month.

The existence of the committee, composed of ministry high ups and high officials from several Bangladeshi law enforcement and intelligence agencies, was announced by Home Secretary Mozammel Haque yesterday after an introductory meeting with NIA officials at the secretariat.

“The team will be led by additional secretary for home affairs, Kamal Uddin Ahmed,  and will learn more about the Indian investigation and its findings. The ministry will provide legislative assistance to the visiting team during its two-day visit. We have to work together to root out terrorists, whether in Bangladesh or in India. We will never tolerate terrorists using our land,’’ the home secretary said.

He confirmed the committee would investigate allegations of involvement by Bangladeshi nationals in the Bardhaman blast as well as assist the NIA investigation.

The NIA team had not given the Bangladeshi side a list of suspects or an investigation report at the first meeting, Mozammel said.

A four-member NIA team headed by Director General Sharad Kumar arrived in Dhaka yesterday as part of its investigation into the Bardhaman blast of October 2. After the introductory meeting with the home secretary, the delegation held a discussion with the home ministry committee, the agenda of which was not disclosed.

Ministry high-ups and top law enforcement and intelligence officials including Inspector General of Police Hasan Mahmud Khandaker, RAB Director General Mokhklesur Rahman, National Security Intelligence Director General Shamsul Houque, Border Guard Bangladesh Director General Aziz Ahmed, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence chief Akbar Hossain, Special Branch of Police chief Jabed Tatoary, Criminal Investigation Department chief Mokhlesur Rahman, Rapid Action Battalion intelligence chief Abul Kalam Azad and Detective Branch of Police joint commissioner Monirul Islam were present at the introductory meeting.

“Both countries are combating terrorism with a zero-tolerance policy and the committee will share intelligence about the blast if the investigation requires it,” Mozammel said.

The NIA team will be in Dhaka for two or three days, Mozammel said.

The Indian agency is investigating jihadist networks following a bomb blast on October 2 at a house in Bardhaman town in India’s West Bengal state.

The house reportedly had been turned into a factory to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by militants belonging to banned Islamist outfit, Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

Two suspected militants died in the explosion that rocked the house and their two wives, believed also to be trained by the JMB, were taken into custody.

The incident led to the unravelling of a wider terrorist network, investigators have said.

Indian sleuths claim that militants were out to assassinate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Several individuals have been arrested in connection with the blast including Bangladeshi national, Sheikh Rehmatulla alias Sajid of Narayanganj, allegedly a commander of the JMB’s module in West Bengal.

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