Ex-NSI chiefs tell of foreign links
Interrogators have gleaned important information about the smuggling of 10 trucks of arms and ammunition and foreign links to the incident from the two arrested former National Security Intelligence (NSI) chiefs, the prosecution yesterday told the court.
But the former NSI directors general--Maj Gen (retd) Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury and Brig Gen (retd) Abdur Rahim--tactfully avoided information about their involvement in the incident, the prosecution lawyer said while placing his prayer for taking the two on further remand.
The court of Chittagong Metropolitan Magistrate Osman Gani granted six days' remand for each for further interrogation at the Taskforce for Interrogation (TFI) cell in Dhaka. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had prayed for 10-days' remand for each.
After the hearing on remand prayer both Rezzaqul and Rahim were sent to Chittagong jail.
The two are likely to be sent to Dhaka for interrogation today, said CID Chittagong divisional Special Superintendent of Police Mohammad Muslim.
The former NSI chiefs were produced before the court around 2:55pm.
Defence lawyers prayed to the court for meeting the two accused at the dock for some time and the court permitted them, which also gave journalists scopes to talk to the two former intelligence bosses.
"Sahab Uddin [former NSI director of security] has made the confessional statement implicating me in the case to save himself," claimed Abdur Rahim, replying to a query.
"If he has any proof or evidence that I gave him instructions regarding transportation of the seized consignment, then let him show it," he said.
Asked about his involvement in the case, Rezzaqul Haider said he did not even know Sahab Uddin who was an officer of a different intelligence agency.
Rezzaqul was director (counter intelligence bureau) of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence when the 10 truckloads of firearms and ammunition were hauled at the jetty of Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Company Ltd in the early hours of April 02, 2004.
Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) advocate Ashoke Das moved the remand prayer on behalf of investigation officer of the case CID Senior ASP Muniruzzaman Chowdhury.
In the prayer, the APP mentioned that it is evident to the investigators that the former NSI chiefs misused their office and state machinery to help transportation of the huge cache of firearms and ammunition through Bangladesh's sovereign land.
It is needed to take them on fresh remand for further interrogation at TFI cell to reveal the mystery and find out the culprits involved in the greater interest of the country, he added.
Opposing the prayer, defence lawyers argued that Sahab Uddin made an "imaginary" confessional statement to save himself implicating their clients.
Rahim's lawyer advocate Khorshed Alam Chowdhury said the injury Rahim received on his right eye on the last day of the three-day remand is a "mark of torture". He also mentioned that his client was suffering from different diseases.
He said if the remand at TFI cell is meant for only questioning, not torture, then it could be conducted at the jail gate.
The defence lawyers prayed for cancellation of the remand and bail for their clients.
After hearing both the sides the court rejected the bail petitions and granted six days' remand for each accused. The court also ordered investigators to maintain great care while interrogating the detainees, particularly Rahim, considering their health conditions.
During the hearing the prosecution and defence lawyers engaged in a heated exchange, which continued for some 10 minutes before the court stopped them.