Brig Gen Bari absconding in army record | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 10, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 10, 2009

Brig Gen Bari absconding in army record

He tells Star he's not returning soon


Brig Gen Chowdhury Fazlul Bari, who was posted to the Bangladesh mission in Washington DC during the caretaker government rule, is being considered an absconder by the military authorities, army sources say.
"In the army we've declared Bari an officer absent without leave (AWL), which is commonly known as absconding," says an army source.
Bari denied any move seeking political asylum in the US when The Daily Star contacted him over phone following such reports in the local media yesterday.
He however confirmed that he is not coming back to the country soon.
The government in February asked Bari to hand over charge as military adviser and return home.
As he did not, he was called back again in April. This time, he handed over charge but did not return home.
He told The Daily Star yesterday evening that he wanted extension of his service in the US. But as the government did not grant it, he applied for leave.
"I'll return on completion of my children's education," said Bari, who also served in the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) since its inception in 2004.
During the BNP-Jamaat-led government he was transferred to the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) as its director from the post of additional director general of Rab.
During the caretaker rule, Bari was one of the leading figures in the DGFI and played a key role in arresting high-profile graft suspects, mostly political bigwigs and businessmen.
Some of the newly elected lawmakers in and outside parliament strongly criticised the role of DGFI as they "witnessed" during their confinement as corruption suspects in caretaker rule.
Brig Gen Bari, who served as the second man of DGFI since BNP-Jamaat-led rule, was posted to the Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC at the end of caretaker rule.
He told The Daily Star, "I wanted extension of my job in the embassy but government did not give it. I handed over my charges and applied for leave."
He however did not say if his leave has been granted. He also did not clarify whether he is still in the army or not.
He instead suggested that this correspondent contact the army headquarters about his leave and job.
Army sources say Bari was asked to immediately return home where his leave would be settled. But as he did not, the army considers him an absconding (AWL) officer.
The sources add he has been absconding for the last three weeks and if he continues doing so for 60 days the army authorities would declare him a "deserter".
Bari will have to face trial either as an absconder or a deserter whenever he returns to the country. But in case of absconding, the punishment will be comparatively less, the sources say.
The sources add Bari is still in the army but after 60 days of his AWL he will no more be in the service.
"I did not apply for political asylum as it needs huge money and it is also difficult," Bari said in reply to a question.
Bari's brother and top BNP leader in Habiganj Chowdhury Ashraful Bari Noman told The Daily Star yesterday evening he has no knowledge about Bari's seeking political asylum.
Noman said, "I know that he [Bari] applied to the government for extending his posting in the US after receiving recall notice from Dhaka.
"He went to Washington just four months before the recall order. That is why he sought extension of his posting till July so his children could complete their academic session," Noman said.
He said he doesn't know of any further development after Bari's prayer.
The Daily Star contacted the Bangladesh mission in Washington over phone to verify the reports on Bari's seeking asylum. But no official concerned was available.
Telephone operator and private secretary to the ambassador said though the office opens at 9:30am, no official comes before 10:00am.

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