ARCF supplied grenades for Aug 21 attack
Kashmir-based militant outfit Asif Reza Commando Force (ARCF), which works together with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), supplied grenades to LeT Bangladesh chapter leader Moulana Tajuddin for the August 21 attack in 2004.
This was revealed by detained LeT leader Indian national Moulana Mansur Ali as the government pushes for further investigation into the grisly attack particularly to unearth if any influential quarters supplied the grenades.
Mansur, who is also an ARCF organiser, told Detective Branch (DB) during interrogation that an ARFC leader, who is also from India, directly handed over the grenades to Tajuddin, brother of detained former BNP deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu.
The investigators however did not reveal the Indian national's name for the sake of investigation.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in its charge sheet only mentioned that Tajuddin had supplied the grenades. But the CID investigators could not find out who handed over the grenades to him and how.
Chief Public Prosecutor Syed Rezaur Rahman on June 25 submitted a prayer to a Dhaka court for further investigation into the attack, which aimed to assassinate AL President Sheikh Hasina in 2004.
Rahman in his prayer argued that experts and influential people who had supplied the grenades were still untraced.
The court which has already heard the prayer on three dates has fixed August 3 for an order in this regard.
"We're expecting more important leads from Mansur on the suppliers of grenades used in the August 21 attack," said a top detective on the understanding of anonymity.
The grisly attack on Hasina's rally on Bangabandhu Avenue killed 23 AL leaders and workers and maimed over 300 others.
The investigators say both ARCF and LeT have close links to the leaders of Harkatul Jihad al Islam (Huji) Bangladesh chapter and work together in the country.
Mansur, who was living in Bangladesh for around 17 years with fake identity and serving as a madrasa teacher, also said most of the grenade throwers at the AL rally were Afghan war veterans having expertise in handling explosives, the sources add.
Quoting Mansur, DB sources say the grenades were smuggled into the country through Satkhira border.
The other detained LeT leader Mufti Obaidullah was also hiding in Bangladesh for 14 years assuming false identity and was serving as a madrasa teacher.
DB Assistant Commissioner Sanwar Hossain, who arrested the two Indian militants, told The Daily Star, "Mansur said ARCF leaders led by a moulana handed over the grenades to Tajuddin."
Quoting Mansur, Sanwar also said most of the grenade throwers were Afghan war veterans with skills in handling explosives.
He added some others who took part in the attack were not fighters but were trained up by the war veterans.
The CID submitted the charge sheet in the grenade attack case on June 11 last year accusing 22 people including Abdus Salam Pintu and Huji leader Mufti Hannan.
According to the charge sheet, apart from Pintu, all other accused are Huji leaders and activists.
Of them, 14 are now behind bars, including Pintu, Mufti Hannan and his brother Mohibullah, Moulana Abu Sayeed, Moulana Abu Taher, Mufti Moinuddin Sheikh alias Abu Zandal.
The eight absconding accused are Pintu's brothers Tajuddin and Moulana Liton, Anisul Mursalin and his brother Mahibul Muttakin, Iqbal, Moulana Abu Bakar alias Selim Howlader, Jahangir Alam Badar and Khalilur Rahman.