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Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Jaistha 4, 1423 BS, Shaban 10, 1437 Hijri

Khaleda Zia or Tarique
Sleuths out to find who sent Aslam to tie up Mossad?
Mamunur Rashid
Published :Wednesday, 18 May, 2016,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 90
While investigators toss their heads trying to figure out who assigned BNP leader Aslam Chowdhury to involve Israeli intelligence agency Mossad in an alleged conspiracy to oust the government, a hard-nut Aslam has not yet confessed his "guilt" or said who he was working for.
Is it BNJP Chairman Khaleda Zia or her exiled son Tarique Rahman, with whom Aslam and a Mossad agent reportedly had met in London in March. The "game" busted as media reports this week said Aslam and Mossad official Mendi N. Safadi met again in the Indian capital New Delhi earlier this month on an undisclosed mission.
Khaeda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) denied they were hatching a conspiracy to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government and termed photographs of Aslam and Safadi in New Delhi, published in the social media and Bangladesh newspapers, as concocted and part of a "propaganda" by ruling Awai League (AL) to "malign" the BNP.
The crystal clear truth is still a far cry as the country's two biggest parties are now engaged in a bitter row over the BNP's alleged Mossad connection. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said "even BNP can be banned for its connection with Mossad."
Taqrique, senior Vice-Chairman of BNP, living in London for eight years to escape trial in Bangladesh for alleged corruption and abuse of power, is a string-puller on BNP policies, its restructuring and reviving its activities -- something that many senior party leaders do not like.
Leaders of ruling Awami League say Tarique is an unpredictable and audacious person, having one of his main purposes is to conduct an anti-AL campaign from abroad and "demean" Bangladesh's 1971 War of Independence against Pakistan.
Political analysts say the alleged Mossad connection has put BNP in a precarious situation in politics as many leaders of the party are annoyed over Aslam's overtures and want to know who assigned him. Police arrested Aslam on Sunday and a court on Monday put him an a 7-day remand.
He is being interrogated in jail but investigators said on Tuesday Aslam was yet to "break" or divulge anything about his mysterious meeting with Safadi. "But we will crack him soon," one investigator told the Daily Observer.
Intelligence sources told The Daily Observer on Tuesday that BNP might have appointed Aslam as the boss of militancy financing in the country. Earlier, BNP leader and former Deputy Minister for Education Abdus Salam Pintu held this post.
Pintu was named as one of the plotters of the August 21, 2004, grenade attack in Dhaka on an Awami League rally - that killed 24 people, wounded over 150 but party chief Sehikh Hasina (now prime minister) escaped death. Pintu convicted several cases including August 21, grenade attack and now in jail.
Pintu's name was also mentioned by detained commander Mufti Abdul Hannan of Harkatul Jihad al Islami (Huji), the alleged perpetrator of the attack, and some others in this outlawed militant outfit.
Israeli politician Mendi N Safadi has admitted meeting BNP leader Aslam Chowdhury in India, but claimed that it was during a public event and they had not discussed 'any secret issues', BBC Bangla Service quoted him as saying.
Safadi, a member of Israel's right-wing Likud party, is a former adviser to Israeli Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara. The BBC Bangla report said that its correspondent spoke with Safadi over phone.
"Everyone is aware of the situation in Bangladesh, the state of minorities over there. We have discussed those and that too, at a public event," said Safadi, a key official of Mossad.
"There can't be anything more ridiculous than claiming that we discussed a military coup in Bangladesh or conspired to topple the government," the BBC report quoted Safadi as saying.
But BNP has been under the scanner of intelligence agencies and the government of Bangladesh. The issue of an 'Israel-backed BNP plot to topple the Sheikh Hasina regime' hit the Bangladeshi media a week ago, after a local daily ran a report on a meeting between Aslam and Safadi in India along with a group photo of the two. The BNP has dismissed the allegations and said Aslam's India visit was 'personal'.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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