Four years after the killing of writer-blogger Avijit Roy, counterterrorism officials yesterday finalised charges against six people, with the prime accused and mastermind behind the sensational murder Maj (sacked) Ziaul Haque still at large.
The investigators yesterday sent the charge sheet to the home ministry for its approval. After getting the green light, the charge sheet will be submitted before a Dhaka court, said Monirul Islam, chief of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit.
The five other accused are Mozammel Hossain alias Saymon, 34; Abu Siddiq Sohel alias Sakib alias Sajid, 34; Arafat Rahman Siam alias Sajjad, 24; Akram Hossain Abir alias Adnan, 30, and Shafiur Rahman Farabi, 27.
All the accused, except for Farabi, were either leaders or operatives of banned militant outfit Ansar al Islam, previously known as Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), Monirul said, adding that Ziaul and Akram were still on the run while Mozammel, Sohel and Arafat gave confessional statements before the magistrates.
Though investigators found involvement of 12 people in the killing, six were left out of the charge sheet as details of the five could not be known while another was killed earlier.
The five, who were dropped from the charge sheet, are Selim, Hasan, Ali alias Khalil, Anik and Antu. Investigator could not find out their details except for their organisational names, CTTC officials said.
Another prime accused, Mukul Rana, who was the operation commander of the murder, was killed in a "shootout" with detectives in the capital's Khilgaon area on June 19, 2016.
Seven arrested by Rab not involved
Interestingly, seven of the eight people Rab arrested earlier and claimed who had direct involvement in the murder were exempted from charges.
They are -- Towhidur Rahman, Sadekur Rahman Mithu, Aminul Mallik, Abul Bashar, Julhaj Biswas, Jafran Al Hasan and Manna Yahiya alias Mannan Rahi.
Among the eight, only Farabi was named in the charge sheet as he had published several posts on social media, instigating the killing of Avijit, said Monirul.
“Their names have been dropped as the investigators did not find their involvement in the murder,” he added.
Avijit, a Bangladesh-born US citizen, was stabbed to death on Dhaka University campus when he, along with his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, was returning from the book fair on February 26, 2015. Bonya survived the attack.
Avijit's father Prof Ajay Roy filed the murder case against unidentified assailants with Shahbagh Police Station.
Monirul said the outfit targeted Avijit for his writings, especially for his two books -- Obisshahser Dorshon (The Philosophy of Disbelief) and Biswasher Virus (The Virus of Faith).
According to CTTC officials, the intelligence wing of the militant outfit collected information from Avijit's friends, publishing houses and other sources about his possible date of return from abroad.
After Avijit came to Dhaka during the book fair in 2015, they planned the killing and rented a flat in Elephant Road to execute it.
The militants followed Avijit for several days before killing him on Dhaka University campus on February 26. Four people directly took part in the killing while others were staying nearby. Zia himself was present on the scene at the time of killing, they said.