A Dhaka court today framed charges against top Huji leader Mufti Abdul Hannan and 12 others in a murder case filed for bomb blasts on a CPB rally in 2001 that killed five people.
Hannan and five others, now in jail, pleaded not guilty and demanded justice after Judge KM Imrul Kayes of the Third Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court of Dhaka read out the charges to them.
The judge fixed September 14 for starting trial of the case. The same court fixed September 4 for hearing on charge framing against the same accused in connection with the case filed under the Explosive Substances Act.
On November 27 last year, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) pressed charges against the 13 members of banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) in two cases filed over the incident.
Of the cases, one was filed for killing five people and injuring 50 others while another was filed under the Explosive Substances Act following the bomb attack on a rally of the Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) at Paltan Maidan on January 21, 2001.
Of the accused, Huji chief Mufti Hannan, Mufti Mainuddin Sheikh, Arif Hassan Sumon, Maulana Sabbir Ahmed, Maulana Shawkat Osman and Md Moshiur Rahman are currently behind bars while Mufti Abdul Hai, Shafiqur Rahman, Jahangir Alam Badar, Md Nur Islam, Mohibul Mustakin, Anisur Rahman and Rafiqul Alam Miraj have been absconding ever since the incident.
During the investigation, in his confessional statement, Mainuddin had admitted his involvement in carrying out the attack, and said Mufti Hannan and several others were involved in this as well.
According to the charge sheets, the accused carried out the blasts on the pretext that the CPB members were "atheists".
Soon after the blasts, police arrested 12 people but the CID, in its final investigation report submitted on December 17, 2003, cleared the arrestees of the charges as no "correct, impartial and reliable" evidence was found against them.
Later the home ministry ordered a reinvestigation into the incident following an application submitted by the CID in 2005.
Hannan and seven other Huji men were sentenced to death for bombing to death 10 people during Pahela Baishakh celebrations at Ramna Batamul in 2001.