Anup Chetia taken to Guwahati; remanded in five-day CBI custody

Guwahati: Deported ULFA leader Anup Chetia was remanded in five days CBI custody by the Special Judicial Magistrate CBI, Assam, in connection with a 1998 murder case after he was brought to Guwahati on Wednesday.

Chetia's lawyer Bijon Mahajan told reporters in the court premises, "The CBI lawyers had asked for 14 days custody. We presented our side. The court forwarded Golap Baruah (alias Anup Chetia) to five days CBI custody." He said, "Baruah was arrested under CBI RC (Regular Case) No. 4(S)/88 in connection with a murder incident in 1998 in Golaghat (Assam)."

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 a six-day transit remand. CBI officials took him in custody and were grilling him ever since.

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.

At the closure of the transit remand on Tuesday, CBI brought Chetia to Guwahati by a special aircraft and produced him in the court on Tuesday, Mahajan said. The lawyer said, "He (Chetia) is not well. CBI has provided medical care to him."

The court also ordered that during his custody period, Chetia be provided with good health care, be medically checked every 24 hours and the report submitted to the court, besides being given good food.

It directed that Chetia's lawyer be facilitated to meet his client during his five-day custody and be present during his interrogation. Asked where was Chetia taken to from the court, Mahajan said, "It will not be lawful for me to say where he has been taken. He will be taken to a place as per the legal procedures."

Coming out of the court, a smiling Chetia waved at the people there before being whisked away to an undisclosed destination. The ULFA leader, who has one of his front teeth missing, was dressed in a blue full sleeved shirt and fawn coloured trousers with his hair dyed in a reddish hue.

Talking to reporters after meeting her husband in the court premises, Chetia's wife Monika Baruah said, "He could not recognise me immediately. Then we talked about domestic matters."

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.

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