The sensational case filed for attempting to kill Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina by planting a 76kg bomb at Kotalipara in 2000 may finally be disposed of at the High Court soon.
The HC bench concerned is about to conclude hearings on the death reference and appeals filed by the convicted accused. It has already heard arguments from both sides for 16 days -- five days last year and 11 days this year.
Death reference are case dockets that have to be sent to the HC in seven days after a trial court sentences any person to death.
The bench will now hear arguments from Attorney General Mahbubey Alam on a legal point whether prime accused Mufti Hannan’s confessional statement will be accepted or not, Deputy Attorney General KM Zahid Sarwar Kazal said earlier this month.
The question arises as Hannan has already been executed in another case.
The bench comprising Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Md Riaz Uddin Khan may hear the attorney general’s arguments when the court reopens after the ongoing vacation on June 16.
And then it may deliver the verdict on the appeals and death reference, the deputy attorney general told this correspondent. “Hopefully, the High Court will deliver the verdict within a month of two,” he added.
The 76kg bomb was recovered at Sheikh Lutfor Rahman Ideal College of Kotalipara in Gopalganj on July 21, 2000. Hasina was supposed to address a rally there the next day.
The then sub-inspector Nur Hossain of Kotalipara Police Station filed the case under the Explosive Substances Act following the incident.
Criminal Investigation Department submitted the charge sheet against Mufti Hannan and 24 others on April 8, 2001, showing 83 people as prosecution witnesses.
Gopalganj District and Sessions Judge’s Court framed charges against the 25 accused on July 2 the same year.
The Gopalganj court recorded statements of 40 prosecution witnesses, including complainant of the case. The case was then shifted to the Speedy Trial Tribunal for quick disposal.
The Speedy Trial Tribunal-2 in Dhaka on August 20, 2017 awarded death sentence to 10 leaders and activists of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji).
They are -- Wasim Akter alias Tarek, Rashed alias Abul Kalam, Yusuf Alias Moshab Morol, Sheikh Farid alias Maulana Shawkat Osman, Hafez Zahangir Alam Badar, Maulana Abu Bakar alias Hafez Selim Howlader, Hafez Maulana Yahia, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hye and Maulana Abdur Rauf alias Abdur Razzaque.
Besides, Mehedi Hasan alias Abdur Wadud was sentenced to life and Anisul Islam alias Anis, Mohibullah alias Mofizur Rahman and Sarwar Hossain Mia were handed 14 years in prison.
Of the accused, 13 are in jail while 11 are on the run. The court acquitted 10 others, as charges brought against them were not proven.
Huji leader Mufti Hannan was found guilty but was acquitted as he was executed on April 12, 2017 at Kashimpur High-Security Prison for killing three people and injuring former British high commissioner to Bangladesh and a dozen others in Sylhet 15 years ago.
The Dhaka tribunal’s verdict was based on confessional statements of Mufti Hannan and four other accused; circumstantial evidence; reports by bomb disposal experts and statements of 63 witnesses.