• Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Justice Joynal still speaks of evidence

Staff Correspondent

Justice Joynal Abedin, who headed the judicial commission formed to probe the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally, still believes his findings were complete and based on evidence.

The report of the one-member commission formed by the BNP-led government had hinted at the link of foreign enemies apart from the local ones with the grisly attack in 2004.

It had not named the foreign country but gave several hints in the 162-page report submitted to the home secretary on October 2 the same year.

Briefing reporters on that day, Justice Joynal Abedin described the carnage as "a naked attack on the independence and sovereignty of the country".

The commission's report was widely considered as the then government's attempt to prove that ''foreign enemies" had instigated the carnage, and some listed criminals holed up in India had taken part in the attack.

Some senior CID officials, who investigated the attack, had attempted to feed the public a fabricated story of Joj Mia, a petty criminal. They had Joj Mia to make a statement confessing to his involvement with the attack in collusion with a band of criminals. Some of the criminals named by Joj Mia had been staying in India since long before the grenade attack.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) even wrote to the Interpol seeking help to bring the criminals back home.

These attempts turned into a farce as the Joj Mia story was exposed by the media.

It was revealed in 2012 through a further investigation that the heinous attack was an outcome of collaboration among militant outfit Huji, influential leaders of the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami, and a band of senior officials of the home ministry, police, Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), National Security Intelligence (NSI) and Prime Minister's Office (PMO). They were indicted in the case and are now facing trial.

Asked about the judicial inquiry commission's findings in the light of the latest development, Justice Joynal on Wednesday claimed, "My report was entirely based on the evidence that was collected by the commission at that time".

Following the submission of his report, the government increased security for Justice Joynal, who was later elevated to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on August 24, 2006 and retired on December 31, 2009.

The commission, formed a day after the attack, recorded statements of 123 people, including the injured victims and their doctors, AL leaders and activists present at the rally, explosives experts, journalists and security men.

It also sought an appointment with Sheikh Hasina to have her account of the deadly event but did not get any, as the AL questioned the neutrality of the probe body. It did not allow the commission to inspect the sports utility vehicle, which carried Hasina to safety immediately after the blasts, either.

Asked if that hindered the inquiry, Justice Abedin on October 2, 2004 said, "The commission may not have received cooperation from all, which might have somewhat hampered the investigation, but the inquiry is in no way incomplete."

Published: 12:01 am Friday, August 22, 2014

Last modified: 9:39 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

TAGS: August 21 grenade attack grenade attack Justice Joynal Justice Joynal Abedin

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