Police could not yet seize the cap with IS logo on it eight days after a death row convict first wore it after the verdict in Holey Artisan attack case.
Rakibul Hasan Regan, a death row convict in the case carried it to a Dhaka court on November 27. Later he claimed that he threw it out of the prison van on their way back to jail, police said today.
“Regan told us that he threw it [cap with IS emblem] out of the prison van on their way back to jail from the court. But he could not say where…” Mahbub Alam, joint commissioner of the Detective Branch of police, also the head of the three-member probe committee formed in this regard, told reporters after a press conference at the DMP Media Centre in Dhaka today.
Police were able to seize a black cap but that does not have the emblem of the Islamic State, he added.
Contradicting the findings of the prison’s authorities the police official said they have analysed the footage of the prison and found that the accused were carrying three prayers caps in total -- two white and one black -- on November 27, while going out of jail, but none of them had IS emblem.
“The convicts carried them in their pockets. Prison guards frisked them and sensed the caps, but thought those were just prayer caps. The guards could not sense that the caps had some other significance. Also, the footage does not show IS emblem on any of the caps,” Mahbub said.
It is possible that Regan wore the cap with the IS emblem inside out while coming out of the jail, Mahbob said suggesting that might be the reason behind IS emblem not being shown in the footage.
Asked where did the cap with IS emblem go, the police official said several agencies have interrogated Regan about that and he told different things to each of them.
“To us, he claimed that he dropped it out of the prison van on their way to jail,” Mahbub said adding that the investigation is over and the report will be handed over to the DMP Commissioner soon.
On Tuesday, Regan claimed to a Dhaka court that he got the prayer cap with the IS logo from an unknown person on the crowded court premises on November 27.
“I don’t know the person who gave it to me,” responded Regan after Judge Md Majibur Rahman of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal of Dhaka asked him about the cap.
Replying to a query, Regan said he took the cap and wore it as it was inscribed with words of the Kalima, the declaration of Islamic faith.
Responding to another question, he said he himself gave a cap to Jahangir Hossain alias Rajib Gandhi, another death-row convict in the café attack case, court sources said.
Rajib was seen wearing a similar cap in the prison van on their way back to jail from the court on November 27.
Earlier, the prisons and the police authorities apparently traded blame over how the militants got the caps.
On November 28, in their primary probe, police found that the caps were brought from jail, while prisons officials on November 29 said there is no chance of collecting the caps from jail. They claimed they analysed CCTV footage and found no negligence of the jail staffers. They said the caps were handed over to the militants at the court.
Regan, Rajib, and five other militants were handed death penalty for their involvement in the 2016 café attack in the capital’s Gulshan, which left 22 people, including 17 foreigners, dead.
As soon as a Dhaka court completed the café attack case judgement delivery on November 27, Regan, who was in the dock, wore the cap emblazoned with the emblem of the Islamic State, a global militant outfit.
He still had the cap on when police brought him out of the courtroom and took him to a prison van parked on the court premises. Police personnel who escorted him even did not seize the cap and he boarded on the prison van with the cap.
Asked, Mahbub also admitted that it was both negligence and ignorance of the policemen who was escorting the militants.