India explores options of Barua trial in absentia

According to intelligence agencies, Baruah is hiding in Myanmar and has a base in China.

New Delhi | Published: February 5, 2014 4:51:46 am

Talking the cue from a Bangladesh court that sentenced top ULFA leader Paresh Barua to death in an arms haul case, India may also try the fugitive leader in absentia. Baruah, who leads a faction of ULFA and is opposed to talks with the Indian government, was given death sentence in absentia in a case in which 10 trucks containing 4,000 weapons were seized.

Under Section 339 B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 an accused can be tried in absence, an official said. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to approach the Ministry of Law and Justice to examine legalities if this section is invoked against Baruah.

Barua, against whom a red-corner notice has been issued by Interpol since 1997, is wanted in several cases of terrorism, smuggling and murder in India.

“There are several cases pending against Barua in India, even the criminal procedure act has the provision to try an accused in absentia. We are examining all his cases and they might be put up for trial if the Law Ministry gives the go ahead,” said a home ministry official.

The verdict in Bangladesh came nearly a decade after seizure of weapons destined for ULFA hideouts in northeast India through Bangladesh territory. ULFA for long has had bases in Chittagong area.

According to intelligence agencies, Baruah is hiding in Myanmar and has a base in China where he stayed for sometime under a fake Bangladeshi passport.

“He continues to have a strong extortion racket in Assam and is pumping in explosives and arms to insurgent groups in the Northeastern part of the country. The criminal cases pending against him have to be taken to a logical conclusion so that if at all he is caught or extradited his fate will be sealed here,” said the official.

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