After nearly 11 months of investigation, Counter Terrorism (CT) unit of Chattogram Metropolitan Police has submitted its final report on the much talked-about case of Biman Bangladesh aircraft hijacking bid at Shah Amanat International Airport last year, implicating Polash Ahmed, who was killed in a commando operation.
On the evening of February 24, 2019, Polash apparently tried to hijack a Boeing 737-800 aircraft of Biman, forcing an emergency landing at the port city airport. He also tried to enter the cockpit brandishing a gun.
All 148 passengers and cabin crew were evacuated safely while Polash was killed in an eight-minute operation by members of the army’s para-commando unit. A case was filed the next day with Patenga Police Station.
Investigation Officer Rajesh Barua, an inspector of CT, submitted the 308-page report to the court’s prosecution office on Tuesday.
“Investigating the case and analysing statements of witnesses, police primarily found evidence that Polash tried to hijack the plane... and brandished a toy gun,” the IO told The Daily Star.
He said police recorded statements of 79 witnesses including 22 passengers (flight BG-147).
“Police found that Polash alias Sakib Hossain alone was involved in the incident. The charges against him were found to be true but reason behind the hijacking bid could not be known as Polash was killed during the commando operation,” said Inspector Barua.
Among the witnesses, seven were Biman officials and staffers; 19 were family members and relatives of Polash, while 26 were law enforcers.
CT sources said CCTV footage of Dhaka airport and radio conversations between the pilot and control tower were also submitted with the report. Citing ballistic experts, the IO said the gun, seized from the plane, was a toy gun.
The report said Polash showed some plastic pipes, circuits, LED light, battery, clips and a black watch to passengers, claiming that it was a “bomb” and blasted some crackers during the incident.
In 2014, Polash introduced himself as Mahi in Dhaka and married one Meghla without his family’s consent. Meghla later divorced him as he often used to torture her.
He went to Malaysia in 2016 and returned after a month. The report said he featured in a short-film in January 2018. During the time, he met film actress Shimla as a producer and developed a relationship with her.
They got married on March 6, 2018. Afterwards, Polash rented a flat in Dhaka’s Banani, where they lived together. Shimla divorced him on November 5 that year after learning about his real identity.
In the meantime, Polash was being pressurised by lenders. Unable to repay them, he went into hiding.
In February 2019, he went back to his home in Narayanganj. On February 23, Polash purchased a plane ticket for Chattogram from a travel agency and made the payment through a mobile financial service provider.
The next day he went to Dhaka airport through a ride-sharing vehicle and boarded the Dubai-bound Biman flight at 5:13pm. Seventeen minutes after take-off, he changed his seat from 17-A to 1-D.
When cabin crew requested him to go back to his seat, he started shouting -- brandishing a gun and bomb-like object -- and tried to enter the cockpit.
The report said he told passengers that the plane was being hijacked and he wanted to talk to the prime minister and his wife, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing.
After landing, the para-commando team asked him to surrender over loudspeaker but he refused. Later, he was killed in the operation, the report added.