Justice denied to 11 victims | The Daily Star
12:49 AM, December 09, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:02 AM, December 09, 2013

2004 Bus Arson

Justice denied to 11 victims

All 18 accused including Nanak, Azam cleared as police probe finds them not guilty

Eleven people, burnt to death in June 2004 in an arson attack on a passenger bus in the capital's Shahbagh, may never get justice after the failure of the Criminal Investigation Department in identifying the perpetrators.
The CID took more than three years to conclude the probe in July this year. The investigation officer also did not find any evidence of the involvement of the 18 accused in the torching of a double-decker bus during a 24-hour hartal enforced by the then opposition Awami League.
Based on the probe report, Metropolitan Magistrate Keshob Roy Chowdhury yesterday relieved AL lawmakers Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Mirza Azam and the other accused of the charges.
Although the case becomes virtually dead after such a report, it can be revived as per legal provisions if police find any perpetrators responsible for the incident, said criminal law expert Shahjahan Miah.
Investigators were negligent in finding the attackers and that can encourage people to commit such crimes, he added.
The CID in the report submitted to the court said the arson attack had killed 11 people. But the charges brought against Nanak, Azam and the others were false, said Assistant Superintendent of Police (CID) Kondaker Md Abdul Halim.
Abdul, the investigation officer of the case, also said Detective Branch of police, which had carried out the first investigation, could not identify the criminals too.
Following the arson attack, Ramna police filed a case accusing some unknown attackers.
In the case statement, they also said the attack had been well planned to kill people and create panic.
Later, police showed Masum and Shafiqul Islam Kalu arrested in the case. They confessed before magistrates that they had committed the offence on instructions of AL leaders Nanak and Azam.
Their confessional statements were recorded on July 10 and 28 of 2004.
However, CID investigator Abdul Halim in his probe report said the duo had been forced to name Nanak, Azam and several other AL leaders and activists. During an investigation, it was found that Kalu and Masum had been in custody when the incident took place, according to the CID report.
Earlier in January, 2009, DB police filed a chage sheet accusing Masum and Kalu and dropping the names of others, saying the charges against them could not be proved.
The case was revived in July, 2010 after police had appealed to the court for reinvestigation.

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