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B’desh initiates process to extradite Daud Merchant to India

DHAKA: Bangladesh has started the process to extradite to India Daud Merchant, a detained top aide of fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said on Monday.

“We are sending several foreign inmates back to their countries on completion of their prison terms…Daud Merchant is one of them,” Kamal told a news briefing at his office.

Merchant, also known as Abdur Rauf, was convicted of killing music baron Gulshan Kumar in 1997. He was handed down life imprisonment for the murder of Kumar. He said that the Home Ministry is in touch with the concerned embassies or high commissions to convey “our decision” and asked them to take required steps on their part for the repatriations.

Bangladesh police in May 2009 arrested Merchant from central Brahmanbaria district on a tip off after he fled India while he was on parole to visit his family in Mumbai.

He was later convicted for intruding and illegally staying in Bangladesh and was released in December 2014. Soon after his release he was re-arrested after police had said he was needed to be interrogated to find out his possible links to Islamist militants.

The minister’s comments came amid media reports that India would hand over Bangladesh Nationalist Party joint secretary general Salahuddin Ahmed, who is now in Indian custody after his mysterious disappearance last year.

Kamal, however, declined to link the proposed extradition with Ahmed’s repatriation saying “it is not like an exchange programme”.

Merchant, a sharp shooter, was arrested by Kolkata police in 2001 but he went into hiding while on parole for 15 days and fled to Bangladesh.

Bangladesh police earlier said he also managed to obtain a passport identifying himself as Sheikh Abdur Rahman of South Mourail area of Brahmanbaria district.

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