August 21 grenade attack case verdict October 10

August 21 grenade attack case verdict October 10

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Dhaka, Sept 18 – The Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 of Dhaka fixed October 10 to deliver the verdict of the August 21 grenade attack cases. Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Speedy Trial Tribunal 1 set the date yesterday (Tuesday) after hearing the closing arguments for hours in the packed courtroom. Besides, the judge scrapped bail of eight persons accused in the cases and ordered them to be sent to jail immediately. Twenty four people were killed and around 300 injured in the attack on a rally of the Awami League in the capital’s Bangabandhu Avenue on August 21, 2004. Sheikh Hasina, the then opposition leader of the Parliament, narrowly escaped the attack with an ear injury.
Of the 49 accused in the two cases over the blasts, 23 including former BNP ministers Lutfozzaman Babar and Abdus Salam Pintu, are in jail; eight including three former inspectors general of police are on bail; and 18, including Tarique Rahman, on the run.
The prosecution, in its closing arguments on Monday, sought the highest punishment for the accused who were involved in committing the grisly attack.
Following the incident, two cases were filed against 49 people with Motijheel Police Station, one for murder and another was filed under the Explosive Substances Act. Trial of the cases begun at the tribunal in 2012. Both cases were conducted simultaneously.
The August 21 grenade attack case accuses 52 people, including BNP acting chief Tarique Rahman and the then State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar.
Sheikh Hasina, the then leader of the opposition in Parliament at the time was the chief speaker at the rally. As she was stepping of the truck, which was used as the dias, the miscreants then hurled the grenades into the rally. Detectives said 13 to 14 grenades were denoted on the occasion.
Those killed in the blasts were Banglaesh Mohila Awami League President Ivy Rahmaan, wife of former President Zillur Rahman. The attack left Sheikh Hasina with a hearing problem. Besides, the late mayor of Dhaka city, Mohammad Hanif, was among over 500 injured in the explosions.
During the tenure of BNP-Jamaat coalition Government, attempts were allegedly made to play down the incident .
Three investigation officers during that regime- Ruhul Amin, Munshi Atikur Rashid- were later charged the cases. A charge-sheet was submitted and investigations initiated once the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker government took charge in January, 2007. The investigations received a new wind after the Awami League came to the power in 2009.
BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia’s nephew Saiful Islam Duke, former State Minister Abdus Salam Pintu and former member of Parliament Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad are also among the accused.
The list of accused also include three former Inspectors General of Police- Md Ashraful Huda, Shahidul Haque and Khoda Baksh Chowdhury and former NSI Director General Rezzakul Haider.
Of the accused in two cases over the blasts, 23 including former BNP Ministers Lutfozzaman Babar and Abdus Salam Pintu, are in the jail; eight including three former inspectors general of police were on bail; and 18, including Tarique Rahman, on the run.
The case was shifted from the Speedy Trial Tribunal to Session’s Judge’s Court and has again sent back to the tribunal.
Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka’s Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 has been hearing the cases at a special court on Nazim Uddin Road in Old Dhaka. – Special Correspondent

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