12:00 AM, September 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:55 AM, September 12, 2018

Hawa Bhaban's conspiracy, endorsed by Tarique

Says prosecution on Aug 21 grenade attack

The grenade attack on Awami League rally on August 21, 2004 that killed 24 people was the outcome of a conspiracy which was finalised at Hawa Bhaban and Tarique Rahman gave the ultimate endorsement, prosecution said yesterday.

The grisly attack was carried out to kill Bangabandhu's daughter Sheikh Hasina and other Awami League leaders so that the then government could remain in power permanently, Mosharraf Hossain Kajal, one of the public prosecutors, said.

Kajal was placing rebuttal against the arguments of the defence counsels of August 21 grenade attack cases for third day at Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 of Dhaka.

Tarique, the current acting chairman of BNP, is the principal accused in the cases and is being tried in absentia. The state-appointed defence counsel for him denied his involvement in the offences.

At least 24 people were killed and around 300 injured in grenade attacks on Awami League rally at Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004. Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader of the parliament, escaped narrowly with an ear injury.

Two cases -- one for murder and another under the Explosive Substances Act -- were filed against 49 people with Motijheel Police Station and the court is conducting trial of both cases simultaneously.

Kajal said the conspiracy, hatched to carry out the grenade attack, was like an umbrella and many came under it to serve their common interest by killing Sheikh Hasina.

Mufti Abdul Hannan, executed leader of militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh (Huji) and also an accused, and his cohorts wanted to introduce fundamentalism in the country while state and deputy ministers wanted to get promotion, and police and intelligence officials wanted to be in the government's good books, Kajal said.

Mutual interest brought all of them together even though many of them were not familiar with each other, he said, adding that the conspiracy took its final shape at Hawa Bhanan and Tarique Rahman gave the final endorsement.

All of them were part of the conspiracy and they should be held liable equally for committing such heinous offences, he said.

He said though such conspiracy is hatched privately and evidence is rarely found, circumstantial evidence and activities of the accused are enough to prove the cases.

Refuting defence arguments that many of the accused were not named in the First Information Report (FIR), he said FIR is not “encyclopedia” and further investigation found involvement of many of the accused.

After the attack, evidence was destroyed by the state and administration, so the FIR cannot be taken seriously, he said.

The FIRs were filed by the then administration.

In the last part of his submission, Kajal prayed to the court to cancel the bail of eight accused and send them to jail.

Another public prosecutor Abu Abdullah Bhuiyan started his submission yesterday, before Judge Shahed Nuruddin adjourned proceedings of the case until today.

Eight of the 49 accused, including three former inspector generals of police, are now out on bail; 18, including Tarique, are on the run; and 23, including former BNP ministers Lutfozzaman Babar and Abdus Salam Pintu, are in jail.