Eleven years on, the trial in a case for murdering two people in a suicide bomb attack by alleged JMB operatives on the Chittagong Court Building premises is yet to be completed, partly because of police negligence.
In the last two years, police "failed" to produce a single witness before the court for deposition, court sources said.
Police constable Rajib Barua and one Shahabuddin from Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong were killed and 16 others, mostly police, were injured in the attack on November 29, 2005.
Two cases -- one for murder and another for possession of explosives -- were filed with Kotwali Police Station.
In June 2008, a Chittagong court sentenced two members of the banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) to life in the explosives case.
The convicts are JMB Chittagong divisional commander Jabed Iqbal alias Mohammad and Jahidul Islam Sumon alias Boma Mizan.
The murder case is now under trial at the court of Chittagong Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge-1.
Of the 77 witnesses, 28 have so far given depositions in the case.
The court last took deposition of witnesses on September 30, 2014. Since then, it fixed 16 dates for hearings but they did not happen as police could not produce any witnesses, according to court sources.
On July 21 this year, the court fixed September 5 for the next hearing and summoned 19 witnesses, including Rab and police officials, to appear before it on that day.
Hla Ching Pru, the then inspector of Detective Branch (DB) of Chittagong Metropolitan Police, submitted the charge sheet on May 18, 2006, accusing five JMB members.
Of them, JMB leaders Shaykh Abdur Rahman, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai and Ataur Rahman Sunny were sentenced to death earlier in other cases filed in connection with militancy, said Ashok Kumar Das, additional public prosecutor of the court.
All the three were later hanged.
Of the other accused, Javed Iqbal, Chittagong divisional commander of the militant outfit, is now in jail.
The fifth accused Jahidul Islam Sumon alias Boma Mizan was snatched away by suspected JMP operatives when he was being taken to a court in a prison van in Mymensingh on February 23, 2014.
Ashok said he could not understand why police did not produce the witnesses before the court for long though the case involves the killing of one of their colleagues.
Chittagong Metropolitan PP Fakhruddin Chowdhury said it was for the police to produce witnesses before the court.
“Police were the victims in the attack and they are also the witnesses in the case,” he said, adding, “If they do not produce witnesses before the court on time, how will the trial be completed?”
Contacted, Devdas Bhattacharya, additional commissioner (crime and operation) of the Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP), said he did not know why the witnesses did not go to the court.
“Maybe, they did not get the summonses. I don't know it, but we are looking into the matter," he added.
Devdas said he told Nirmalendu Bikash Chakraborty, additional deputy commissioner (prosecution) of the CMP, to contact the witnesses and ensure their presence before the court during the next hearing.
Contacted, Nirmalendu said they would comply with the court order.
Trials of several cases involving militant attacks around the same time have long been completed and their verdicts executed.
For example, seven JMB members were given capital punishment on May 29, 2006, in the case for killing two Jhalakathi judges -- Shaheed Sohel Ahmed and Jagannath Pandey. They died in a suicide bomb attack on their way to the Jhalakathi court on November 14, 2005.
The verdict was executed on March 21, 2007.
On April 6 this year, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty for JMB leader Masumur Rahman Masum in two cases filed for killing a litigant and injuring some others by carrying out a bomb attack at Laxmipur court on October 3, 2005.
Then on April 12, the apex court sentenced JMB activist Amjad Ali, another accused in the case, to imprisonment until his death.