Charges were finally pressed yesterday in the sensational August 21 grenade attack case against 22 persons including top Harkat-ul-Jihad (Huji) leader Mufti Abdul Hannan and BNP leader and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu.
The development came after years of drama during the rule of coalition government led by BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami over investigation into the grisly attacks on an Awami League (AL) rally on Bangabandhu Avenue in 2004.
The top brass of the then government had even said that the attack was not meant to kill AL chief Sheikh Hasina.
Investigators of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) have, however, found now that the only target of the attack was to assassinate Hasina as the arrested Huji leaders confessed to trying to kill her because she is “harmful” for Islam.
Although Hasina escaped with injuries, the attack left 24 AL leaders, including Ivy Rahman, and workers killed and 300 others injured, many of them maimed forever.
An investigation was conducted under the direct supervision of Lutfozzaman Babar, state minister for home at that time, and 20 persons including a student, Shaibal Saha Partha, and AL leader and ward commissioner Mokhlesur Rahman were arrested.
Interestingly, none of these arrestees who had to undergo a lot of harassment and tortures were found guilty in the latest investigation.
The drama got a twist with the government’s claim about the “confessions” of Joj Miah, Abul Hashem alias Rana and Shafiqul Islam that a criminal gang carried out the attack.
The present administration later found that as per the then government’s desire those confessional statements were obtained using force. The CID investigators and the supervising officer involved were found to have paid Joj Miah’s family a few thousand taka monthly.
The one-member judicial probe committee of Justice Joynul Abedin even pointed out a foreign “enemy” country’s involvement in the incident.
The charge sheet submitted yesterday has nothing in this regard.
Disclosing the content of the charge sheet at a press briefing yesterday, CID Chief Additional Inspector General Jabed Patwari said Huji top leaders planned and carried out the attacks to kill Hasina as a few arrested attackers said in their confessional statements that Hasina would harm Islam if she was alive and came to power again.
BNP leader Pintu is not involved with Huji but he has been charged since the attackers had held two meetings at his residence to take decision about the attack.
“Pintu admitted that he heard about the meetings and saw the persons who went to his house for the meetings,” the CID chief told the press at his office.
Apart from Pintu all other attackers on the charge sheet are Huji leaders and activists.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate AKM Enamul Haque accepted the charge sheet submitted at noon and issued arrest warrants against the fugitives.
The court also ordered the authorities to discharge the arrested 20 persons made accused in the case earlier as investigators said they did not find their involvement and prayed to the court for clearing them of the charges.
Apart from Joj, Hashem and Shafiqul, 17 other arrestees are Monjur Hossain, Shah Alam, Haji Shoyeb alias Dikon, Mokhlesur Rahman, Aiub Ali Khan, Shaibal Saha Partha, Habib alias Abdul Hannan, Badsha Mia, Abdur Rahman, Mohammad Hasan alias Tushar, Zahir Hossain alias Liton, Akhteruzzaman alias Ata, Abdur Rahim, Waliullah alias Ali, Mohammad Hossain, Monir Hossain alias Pichchi Monir, and Akash Sarkar alias Jiten.
CID Chief Jabed Patwari said although Joj Miah, Hashem and Shafiqul gave confessional statements, those had no basis and no corporative evidence was found to support their statements.
Asked if any legal action would be taken against those who obtained the statements, he said the court would decide the matter.
Investigation officers CID ASPs Munshi Atiqur Rahman and Abdur Rashid and supervising officer CID Special Superintendent Ruhul Amin have retired from the service, so the police cannot take any departmental action against them, he said.
A day after the grenade attack the police filed two cases–one for murder and another under the Explosive Substances Act–with Motijheel Police Station.
On June 5 last year, Badar Aziz Uddin of Cox’s Bazar filed another case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, Dhaka charging former premier Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman, Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami and 25 others with murder.
However, the present investigation officer of the case, CID Assistant Superintendent Fazlul Kabir, did not find any links of them to the incident.
He yesterday submitted the charge sheets of the cases filed by the police, accusing the 22 persons in each case.
The charge sheets contain 42 pages each while the case dockets have more than 3,000 pages. A total of 408 persons, including Hasina and other top AL leaders, have been made prosecution witnesses in the case.
Besides, 69 types of evidence including Hasina’s sports utility vehicle, the truck that was used as the makeshift podium at the rally, grenade splinters and blood stained clothes have been submitted.
The investigators also submitted to the court the Interpol report containing details of the incident and submitted earlier to the government, the CID chief said, adding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which had taken some evidence for test and returned later, did not submit any report.
The CID said 14 of the accused are now behind bars. They are Mufti Hannan, his brother Mohibullah alias Mafizur Rahman alias Ovi, Sharif Shahidul Islam alias Bipul, Maulana Abu Sayeed alias Dr Abu Zafar, Abul Kalam Azad alias Bulbul, Jahangir Alam, Maulana Abu Taher, Shahadatullah Jewel, Hossain Ahmed Tamim, Abdus Salam Pintu, Mufti Moinuddin Sheikh alias Abu Zandal alias Masum Billah, Arif Hasan Sumon, Rafiqul Islam Sabuj and Mohammad Ujjal alias Ratan.
The eight absconding accused are Pintu’s brothers Maulana Tajuddin and Maulana Liton, Anisul Mursalin and his brother Mahibul Muttakin, Iqbal, Maulana Abu Bakar alias Selim Howlader, Jahangir Alam Badar and Khalilur Rahman. Mursalin and Muttakin were arrested in India with explosives in 2006 and are now detained at Tihar jail there.
The investigators said Tajuddin supplied the grenades.
The CID chief said they have found involvement of six others in the attacks but did not include their names in the charge sheets as Ahsanullah Kajol died in an encounter in India and Mohammad Masud died of illness while details of Subho alias Towfiq, Babu, Ferdous and Omar Faruq could not be known.
“Once we arrest the four, we will submit a supplementary charge sheet against them,” said Jabed.
Eight of the arrestees–Hannan, Bipul, Ovi, Abu Sayeed, Bulbul, Arif Hossain, Jahangir and Sabuj–gave statements under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code confessing their involvement with the incident.
Investigation officer Fazlul Kabir said apart from the August 21 attacks, Huji also tried to carry out attacks on Hasina at Kotalipara on July 20, 2000 and during her election campaign in Sylhet for what they said arresting and harassing several Islamic scholars during her government’s tenure.
Tags: August 21, Grenade-Attack, Mufti Abdul Hannan
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