How an accused was sent abroad | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 18, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 18, 2012

How an accused was sent abroad

Nothing can make a much-hunted terror suspect feel more privileged than staying beyond law enforcers' reach and flying to a foreign country under foolproof security.
The investigation into the August 21 grenade attacks became a farce after key suspect Maulana Tajuddin had left for Pakistan in October 2006, thanks to some ruling party leaders and intelligence officials.
When the Rab was expecting help from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence to arrest Tajuddin, some influential officers of the intelligence agency helped his safe passage out of the country.
The Rapid Action Battalion wanted to interrogate Tajuddin, a militant leader and also brother of former deputy minister of BNP Abdus Salam Pintu, to unearth the mysteries centring the attacks.
Aimed at assassinating Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, the grenade assaults left at least 23 AL members killed and scores injured during a rally on August 21, 2004.
It was in 2006 when Maj Gen (retd) Sadik Hasan Rumi, then director general of DGFI, received a request from Rab DG Abdul Aziz Sarkar seeking help to capture Tajuddin.
Rumi asked DGFI official Lt Col Saiful Islam Joarder to help the Rab get Tajuddin, according to his statement submitted to the investigation officer of the grenade attack cases.
But Saiful feared that handover of the militant to Rab could be embarrassing for the BNP-Jamaat government.
A few days after this conversation, Rumi came to know from his colleague Brig Gen Amin that they had found Tajuddin and kept the militant at the DGFI's safe house in Gulshan.
DGFI later sent the militant to his preferred destination Pakistan.
Maj Monirul, who joined Dhaka DGFI in June 2006, also had submitted a statement to the IO, Abdul Kahar Akand.
He explained how they arranged a fake passport, Pakistani visa, Dhaka-Karachi ticket and airport entry for Tajuddin.
In one afternoon of October 2006, Lt Commander Mizan took Tajuddin to the agency's safe house on orders of Lt Col Saiful Islam.
Tajuddin was with Maulana Abdus Salam, founder of banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, at the safe house when Saiful along with Lt Col Afzal and Maj Monirul later went there.
It was Maulana Salam who had helped DGFI get Tajuddin.
Lt Col Saiful arranged accommodation for the two at the safe house and left, saying he would come again at night.
Later around 8:00pm, Monirul along with Saiful, Afzal and Mizan came to the safe house.
Saiful and Afzal held a discussion with Tajuddin while Monirul and Mizan were waiting in an adjacent room. Saiful informed others that Brigadier Gen Amin would come, and dinner was prepared accordingly.
As Brigadier General Amin was late, they had their dinner.
After Amin arrived at 11:00pm, all the DGFI officials held a long exclusive discussion with Tajuddin.
All but Tajuddin and Salam left the safe house around half past midnight.
The following day around 11:30am, Amin, Saiful, Afzal, Mizan and Monirul came to the safe house and interrogated Tajuddin on different issues in presence of Salam.
In light of Huji leader Mufti Hannan's statement, DGFI officials asked Tajuddin about his involvement in the August 21 grenade attacks.
Tajuddin told them that he supplied grenades, other Huji members carried out the attacks and the organisation leaders made the plan at a meeting in deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu's house.
Lutfozzaman Babar, then state minister for home, pledged protection of attackers.
Tajuddin's version matched Mufti Hannan's earlier statement given to Task Force Intelligence (TFI) cell.
At this stage of the interrogation, Amin and Saiful went out of the room and returned after making a brief mobile phone conversation.
Saiful informed others that Babar had ordered sending Tajuddin to Pakistan immediately without going any further. Brig Gen Amin said he too had got the same instructions from the persons whom he talked with.
DGFI officials did not quiz Tajuddin anymore.
Amin directed Saiful to organise everything immediately to send Tajuddin to Pakistan. Saiful directed Monirul and Mizan to get passport, visa and ticket for Tajuddin.
Amin and Saiful then left the safe house.
Asked, Tajuddin told Monirul that he already had a passport and he would give it to the DGFI official very soon.
Monirul was waiting for Tajuddin's passport.
Two days later, Saiful gave Monirul a passport with Pakistani visa and a ticket of Bangladesh Biman's Dhaka-Karachi flight, asking him to go to Zia International Airport (renamed Hazrat Shahjalal Int'l Airport) along with Lt Commander Mizan.
Seeing the passport, Monirul told Saiful that its photo was Tajuddin's but the name was wrongly written as Badal and Rajshahi was shown as his address.
Saiful said there would not be any problem and made a phone call to ensure that Monirul and Mizan could enter the airport.
The duo along with Tajuddin went to the airport, and completed all formalities with the help of some DGFI men.
Monirul and Mizan left the airport; Tajuddin boarded a Karachi-bound flight.

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