The plan to launch the terror attack in Holey Artisan Bakery was first chalked out at a rented house in Gaibandha’s Saghata upazila in late February 2016.
The house belonged to Nazrul Islam alias Bike Hasan and Shakhawat Hossain Shafiq, according to the full verdict in the Holey Artisan attack case.
The duo got killed later, it said.
The Daily Star obtained a copy of the full verdict.
Hasan was a member of banned militant outfit of Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh and a key accused in Hindu priest Jogeswar Dasadhikari murder case in Panchagarh.
Hasan was killed in a “gunfight” with police in Rajshahi on August 2, 2016. He was known in militant circles as Bike Hasan because he used to pick up and drop off militants on his motorcycle during their criminal operations, investigators said.
Shakhawat Hossain was also a JMB member in the northern region. The investigators, however, could not provide more information about him.
On Wednesday, the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal delivered its verdict in the Holey Artisan café attack case, sentencing seven militants to death for their involvement in the grisly crime.
Judge Md Majibur Rahman acquitted one accused after finding him not guilty in the carnage that that left 22 people, including 17 foreigners, dead in the capital’s Gulshan on July 1, 2016.
The court mentioned Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a Canadian of Bangladeshi origin, as the mastermind and coordinator of the chilling siege.
In late 2015, the tribunal said, under the leadership of Tamim and top JMB leader Sarwar Jahan Manik, the neo-JMB started recruiting students of English medium schools, madrasas, government and private universities, imams, and youths from underprivileged families.
Sarwar was killed in an anti-militancy raid.
“With the help of modern technology, Tamim Chowdhury made youths interested in joining neo-JMB by showing them impressive documents on so-called… versions of jihad,” read the verdict.
Everyone involved in the café attack had one common goal -- create panic among the public by killing foreigners to establish jihad and draw the attention of IS, it said.
So, the roles of the main planner, coordinator, attackers, and others involved cannot be regarded as bigger or smaller than each other, the verdict said.
“By participating in the efforts of the Holey Artisan attack with a common intention, the accused seven and the attackers committed the same crime,” it added.
The seven death-row convicts are -- Jahangir Hossain, Aslam Hossain Rash, Hadisur Rahman, Rakibul Hasan Regan, Md Abdus Sabur Khan, Shariful Islam Khaled and Mamunur Rashid Ripon.
Explaining the acquittal of Mizanur Rahman, the verdict said it was not found from the testimonies of any of the witnesses that he was the Boro Mizan mentioned by one of the convicts, Jahangir Hossain, in his confessional statement.
Jahangir in his statement said Chhoto Mizan had collected the bomb-making materials from Boro Mizan of India.
The verdict further said none of the co-accused had mentioned in their confessional statements that Mizanur Rahman knew about the attack or was involved with it.
Five young militants, who participated in the attack, were killed during a rescue operation by army commandoes.