21 August grenade attack verdict: Babar, 30 accused taken to Dhaka
10:25 AM, October 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:57 AM, October 10, 2018

Aug 21 attack verdict: Babar, 30 accused taken to Dhaka court

A total of 31 accused of August 21 grenade attack cases including former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu have been taken a Dhaka court from Kashimpur High Security Prison in Gazipur as the court is set to deliver its verdict in the cases today.

A prison van carrying them started from the Gazipur jail around 7:00am, our Gazipur correspondent reports quoting Bikash Raihan, jailor of Kashimpur High Security Prison.

In the broad daylight of August 21, 2004, Islamist militants launched a heinous grenade attack on a rally of the then opposition Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue in Dhaka.

The attack was carried out according to a meticulously designed plan hatched by some high ranking persons of the then BNP-led government who allegedly conspired to annihilate their political rivals, including their prime target AL President Sheikh Hasina.

The plot failed as Sheikh Hasina survived the attack narrowly because some of her party leaders protected her by forming a human shield around her. However, 24 people were killed, including AL Women Affairs Secretary Ivy Rahman,  and over 400 were injured in the grisly attack.

Two cases -- one for murder and another under the Explosive Substances Act -- were filed with Motijheel Police Station.

The then BNP-led government formed a one-member judicial inquiry commission led by a High Court judge. Besides, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) came to Dhaka to probe the grenade attack.

But, a few months later, senior CID officials made up the farcical Joj Mia story. They detained Joj along with 20 other petty criminals. Joj and two others were forced to give false confessions.

The real identities of the detainees were later revealed by the media and the ludicrous nature of the investigation was exposed by the end of 2004.

After a caretaker administration took over, the CID submitted two separate charge sheets in June 2007, accusing 22 persons including Mufti Hannan and Abdus Salam Pintu. The charge sheet hints at the involvement of some high-level government and security officials in the plot.

The trial began after charges were framed against them in October that year and the court recorded testimonies of 61 prosecution witnesses.

But, following the prosecution's petition, the court in August 2009 ordered further investigation and a new investigation officer was assigned.

The CID in July 2011 submitted supplementary charge sheet accusing 30 more individuals, including Tarique and Babar, taking the total number of accused to 52.

Of them, Mufti Hannan and Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul were executed in a case filed for attacking the then UK high commissioner to Bangladesh Anwar Choudhury.

Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, who was the secretary general of Jamaat and a minister, was hanged for committing crimes against humanity in 1971.

The re-trial in the two cases started concurrently in March 2012. The prosecution produced 225 witnesses to prove the charges while the defence produced 20.

The court completed the trial last month.

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