A Dhaka court today framed charges against 13 members of banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) including its top leader Mufti Abdul Hannan in a case filed in connection with the bomb attack on a CPB rally in 2001.
Two cases were filed over the incident. Of the cases, one was filed for the killing of five people and injuring 50 others while the other was lodged under the Explosive Substances Act for blasting bombs.
Judge KM Imrul Kayes of Third Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court of Dhaka read out the charges to the Huji men in the second case.
However, Mufti Hannan and four others, now in custody, pleaded not guilty and appealed for justice.
On November 27 last year, Criminal Investigation Department pressed the charges against the accused in two cases filed over the incident.
Of the accused, 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 since the incident took place.
The bomb attack on the rally of Communist Party of Bangladesh took place in the capital's Paltan Maidan on January 21, 2001.
According to the charge sheets, the accused carried out the blasts on the pretext that the CPB members in the rally 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.