Tripura minister resigns over links with arms dealer

April 17th, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by admin  


Agartala, April 17 (IANS) Tripura Food and Minority Affairs Minister Sahid Chowdhury resigned Thursday from the state cabinet following a controversy over his alleged links with a Bangladeshi arms dealer, who was arrested last month for anti-India activities, officials said here. “The resignation letter of the minister was sent to Governor Dinesh Nandan Sahaya by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar for acceptance, and he immediately accepted it,” a senior official told IANS.

The chief minister was not available here for his comments.

“I have resigned from the council of ministers for the investigation to take place smoothly and to uphold the moral values of politics,” Chowdhury said after submitting the resignation letter to the chief minister.

He reiterated that all allegations against him were totally baseless and unfounded.

The Tripura police last week ordered an inquiry into the alleged links between the Chowdhury and Bangladeshi arms dealer Mamun Mian alias Suman Majumdar.

Acting on a tip-off, a joint team of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal and Tripura arrested Bangladeshi national Mamun Mian from a house at Ramnagar, on the outskirts of Tripura’s capital Agartala last month, for his involvement in anti-Indian activities and trafficking in arms and explosives.

“The police (special branch) officials have started an inquiry to uncover the details about Mamun Mian and also about those who helped him stay in Tripura illegally,” said Director General of Police K.T.D. Singh.

Opposition parties, including Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have been demanding the minister’s resignation and as well as a judicial or CBI inquiry into the controversy.

“The minister helped Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan agent Mamun Mia in getting permanent residential certificate (PRC) from the state government and the Indian passport,” opposition leader Ratan Lal Nath said in separate letters to the chief minister and governor.

“The West Bengal police earlier this year nabbed two Bangladeshi nationals, Shamim Akhtar and Alamgir Hussain, in Kolkata with several incriminating documents pertaining to maps and details of army camps in north Bengal areas. A case was also registered against them in Kolkata,” DGP Singh said.

“During their interrogation, Shamim and Alamgir revealed they had entered India last year and one of their associates, Mamun Mian, was hiding in Agartala city,” he added.

The issue has rocked the state during the past two weeks.

Reacting to the media reports over the alleged nexus between Chowdhury and Mamun, the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Baidyanath Majumder said: “Before the completion of the inquiry, we would not say anything on the issue.”

The CPI-M-led Left Front has remained silent over the sensitive issue.

Chowdhury was elected to the assembly in the Feb 23 assembly election from the Boxanagar assembly constituency in west Tripura for the third time and became cabinet minister for the first time.

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