No extradition treaty with India: Dhaka

August 27th, 2008 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Aug 27 (IANS) Bangladesh has once again rejected an Indian proposal for a bilateral extradition treaty to exchange criminals hiding in each other’s territory, an official was quoted as saying in a newspaper report Wednesday.Any such treaty must involve others of the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Dhaka insists.

The three-day ninth home-secretary level meeting between Bangladesh and India begins here Friday, with New Delhi likely to press for an extradition treaty, The Daily Star newspaper said Wednesday.

“India is keen to sign an extradition treaty with Bangladesh only, but Dhaka is not interested as the treaty should involve all members of the regional forum,” an unnamed foreign ministry official told the newspaper.

The issue has been pending for long, even as both the South Asian neighbours accuse each other of illegal movement through a 4,300 km porous border.

Besides common law-breakers, India says several leaders and activists of the militant outfits of its northeastern region are operating from Bangladeshi soil.

Dhaka responds with a similar accusation about “political fugitives” taking shelter in India.

In 2002, India sought Dhaka’s cooperation in mutual legal assistance, counter-terrorism and extradition.

The Bangladesh foreign ministry official said SAARC leaders at their recent summit in Colombo signed an agreement on mutual legal cooperation and counter-terrorism, covering the extradition issue.

“Since a multilateral agreement is already in place, Bangladesh is assessing whether there is any need for a bilateral one with India on exchange of criminals,” he said.

Dhaka reckons that criminals could be also exchanged “in goodwill gestures”, the newspaper said, quoting a Criminal Investigation Department (CID) official, who added: “India has so far handed over six Bangladeshi criminals. It means that they can nab the other thugs and hand them over to us.”

India has given a list of over a hundred camps operating on Bangladesh territory by northeastern fugitives. Dhaka denies they exist.

Bangladesh handed over an updated list of 1,648 Bangladeshi criminals hiding in India at the director-general level border conference between Bangladesh Rifles and Border Security Force held in Dhaka recently. The Indian side gave a list of 464 Indian criminals.

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