Guwahati: Runaway ULFA leader Anup Chetia alias Golap Baruah, extradited from Bangladesh, was on Wednesday presented before a Guwahati court, which remanded him in five-day CBI custody.
Chetia, who was lodged in a Bangladesh jail ever since his arrest in 1997, was brought to Guwahati on Wednesday morning aboard a special aircraft by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on transit remand.
He was taken straight from the airport to the CBI court amid tight security. The security personnel did not even allow waiting media persons to have a word with Chetia.
Some members of Chetia’s family – including his wife and son – and senior members of United Liberation Front of Assam’s pro-talks faction, however, managed to exchange a few words and greetings with the senior ULFA leader.
Chetia was extradited from Bangladesh to India on November 11 and brought to New Delhi. CBI officials took him in custody and were grilling him ever since.
“On November 12, the CBI arrested Chetia regarding a murder case registered in Golaghat district in 1986. CBI officials today demanded 14-day custody of Chetia. After hearing us, the magistrate remanded Chetia in five-day CBI custody,” said Chetia’s counsel Bijan Mahajan.
Mahajan said the court asked CBI officials to provide medical assistance to Chetia, apart from good food while in custody.
“The court also ordered for health check-up of Chetia after every 24 hours and submission of a report to this effect,” Mahajan said, adding the CBI was directed to allow Chetia’s counsel and family members to meet him.
Some members of the pro-talks ULFA faction – engaged in peace talks with the government of India since 2010 – later told the media that Chetia was fine.
Chetia’s wife Monika Baruah Chetia told journalists that he did not recognise her at first. “I am very happy. Finally the wait is over and I wish the government of India will ensure his release so that the talks could go ahead,” she said.
Heavy security was deployed in the court and barricades put up in the premises in order to thwart people from reaching near Chetia or raising pro-ULFA slogans, as was done when ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa was presented before a court in 2009.
Chetia was first arrested in 1991 but was released on his assurance that he would bring other ULFA leaders to the negotiating table.
However, he fled the country. He was arrested by Bangladesh police in December 1997 for entering the country on fake documents, possessing illegal foreign currency, firearms and a satellite phone.