A Dhaka court yesterday framed charges against Moudud Ahmed, Mirza Abbas, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy and 38 other BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami men of torching a vehicle and throwing crude bombs at policemen during an anti-government movement last year.
The three national standing committee members of the BNP and 18 other opposition men pleaded not guilty before the speedy trial court-6 and prayed for justice in the case. But Judge Tareq Mainul Islam Bhuiyan rejected their pleas and indicted them on the basis of the charge sheet submitted by the police earlier.
Twenty other accused in the case are on the run.
According to the charge sheet prepared by Paltan police upon an investigation, Moudud, Abbas, Gayeshwar and the other accused assembled unlawfully in front of the BNP's Naya Paltan office in the capital on March 6, last year. They then vandalized a private car and set it ablaze.
"The police tried to pacify them. But they threw crude bombs and brickbats at policemen in an attempt to kill them," the charge sheet says.
Packed with leaders and activists of the BNP-led 20-party alliance and their counsels, the court ruled that the trial of the case would begin on October 12.
In the last two months, more than 400 leaders and activists of the opposition alliance have been charged in seven cases with damaging and torching vehicles, assaulting police, preventing the law enforcement agencies from discharging their duties and blasting crude bombs.
All the cases were filed between 2012 and 2013, at a time when the opposition was waging street agitation to force the then Awami League-led government to reintroduce non-partisan election-time government.
The other senior leaders of the alliance, who were indicted in the cases, include BNP leaders Abdullah Al Noman, Amanullah Aman, Barkatullah Bulu, Moazzem Hossain Alal, Habibun Nabi Khan Sohel and Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annee and Jamaat leaders Shafiqul Islam Masud and Shafiqur Rahman.
Earlier in the day, the same court held a brief hearing on another case against BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and 22 other BNP and Jamaat men.
Besides Fakhrul, BNP leaders Abbas, Gayeshwar, Noman, Aman, Bulu and Alal in the case are accused of damaging and torching vehicles, assaulting police, and blasting crude bombs at Shahjahanpur on March 2 last year.
The accused yesterday filed a petition seeking time to prepare for the hearing of the case filed with Shahjahanpur Police Station.
The court accepted their prayers and fixed October 2 to resume the hearing.
Meanwhile, Fakhrul and 25 other BNP and Jamaat men are scheduled to appear today before the same court as it will hold the hearing on the charge framing in another case filed on March 2, last year with Paltan Police Station.