The 10-truck arms haul case verdict is a 'deep conspiracy' to ruin BNP, party's Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said today.
“Those who had recovered the arms haul during the tenure of the then BNP-led government are facing the trial. It’s a part of conspiracy to root out the party," Rizvi said during a press briefing at BNP headquarters in the capital’s Nayapaltan.
He was revealing BNP's reaction over the arms haul case verdict that awarded handed down death penalty to 14 people, including Jamaat chief and former industries minister Motiur Rahman Nizami and ex-state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, for smuggling firearms.
It was Rizvi's first appearance before the media after his release from Dhaka Central Jail yesterday following a two-month detention.
The same court also gave the 14 convicts life sentences for possessing illegal firearms and ammunition in another case filed over the largest-ever arms haul in the country about a decade ago.
While delivering the verdict yesterday, Chittagong Metropolitan Special Tribunal Judge SM Mojibur Rahman said the then prime minister Khaleda Zia was silent after being informed of the 10-truck arms haul in 2004.
"The then DGFI [Directorate General of Forces Intelligence] Director General Maj Gen Sadik Hasan Rumi informed the then premier Khaleda Zia about the arms haul, but she kept mum. Without expressing any reaction, she only said she would investigate. These matters came in as evidence," observed Chittagong Metropolitan Special Tribunal Judge SM Mojibur Rahman.
The accused National Security Intelligence officers' involvement in Hawa Bhaban, the so-called alternative power house of the then BNP-led government, also came up in the court's observation.
The ex-DGFI DG Rumi in his deposition said he attended a meeting on April 2, 2004, at police commissioner's office. "Listening to the discussion of the meeting I realised that this is not a small incident and involvement of the higher officials would be unsurprising."
The next day, Rumi met Khaleda and briefed her about their visit to the spot in details, he said, adding that Khaleda told him that a committee would be formed which would have a representative from the DGFI.
On that day, the then state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, who allegedly had the blessings of Hawa Bhaban, telephoned Rumi and asked him to appoint Maj Gen Rezzakul Haider as the DGFI representative in the probe committee.
Babar rejected Rumi's request to appoint someone else, said Rumi in his deposition.
Two cases were lodged with Karnaphuli Police Station a day after the arms haul were recovered at Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) jetty.
The arms and ammunition seized included 4,930 sophisticated firearms, 840 rocket launchers, 300 rockets, 27,020 grenades, 2,000 grenade-launching tubes, 6,392 magazines and 11.41 million bullets.