GUWAHATI, Nov 11 - United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) general secretary Anup Chetia, who was handed over to India by the Government of Bangladesh today, will have to face trial for the cases registered against him in Assam.
Highly placed official sources in New Delhi told The Assam Tribune that cases against Chetia would not be withdrawn immediately and the issue has not even been discussed. The ULFA leader would first have to face trial and only later, depending on his stand on the issue of peace talks, the government may decide to facilitate his release on bail.
�So far, the government has been made to understand that Chetia is keen on joining the peace process. But the government will have to know his decision formally before taking any decision. However, cases against him will not be withdrawn and he will have to face trial. The government may decide not to oppose his bail plea if he formally announces his decision to join the peace process,� sources added.
Sources said that when the handing over of Chetia was finalised, there were some discussions on whether the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be given his initial custody. But as most of the cases against the ULFA leader were old ones and the NIA has been formed only recently, it was decided that the CBI should be given the custody of Chetia. He is, however, likely to be handed over to the Assam Police later.
Official sources added that the pro-talk faction of the ULFA was putting pressure on the Centre to bring Chetia back so that he can be involved in the peace process.
The CBI, however, as on date, had no case registered against Chetia, who is otherwise wanted in as many as nine cases registered with the Assam Police, including that of murder and extortion. The Union government is yet to formally inform the State police about Chetia�s extradition.
Among other cases, Chetia has been held as accused in a number of cases under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act which are currently being tried by the Special TADA Court, Guwahati (Assam).
Further, the Court of Additional Sessions Judge, Guwahati is also trying a case, which was registered with the Special Operation Unit police station.
Top Assam Police sources claimed that Chetia might have been handed over to India as per the prisoners exchange pact with the neighbouring country. �As matters related to Red Corner Notice and cases with international ramifications are dealt by the CBI, Chetia too was taken into custody by the premier investigation agency despite the fact that no case is registered with it against the ULFA leader,� sources stated.
�We are yet to receive any formal initiation and will act accordingly as and when the need arises,� sources added.
Chetia�s family members, who rushed to Guwahati immediately after the newsbreak, said that they are feeling relieved and have appointed advocate Bijon Kumar Mahajan to pursue the case.