Arrest warrant issued for Khaleda Zia`s eldest son
Last Updated: Sunday, July 03, 2011, 21:56
  
Dhaka: A Bangladeshi court on Sunday issued arrest warrants for the fugitive eldest son of former premier Khaleda Zia and 17 others over a 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally that killed 24 people and injured some 300 people, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

46-year old Tarique Rahman, who is now in London on a government parole for treatment since 2008, has been indicted for abetting one of the worst political violence in the country in decades that led to severe injury to one of Hasina's ears.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Enamul Haque issued the arrest warrants for Rahman and 17 others for the attack on the rally of Hasina on August 21, 2004.

CID earlier today formally charged Rahman, the senior vice president of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), and 29 others of the attack after an "extended investigation" into the case.

"We have submitted the supplementary chargesheet after an extended investigation into the case," CID’s special superintendent Abdul Kahhar Akhand said.

Rahman is also an accused in several other criminal and graft cases pending for trial.

Akhand said their re-investigations suggested that operatives of militant Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJI) carried out the attack, which was backed by several stalwarts of the earlier BNP-led four-party coalition government and security and police officials.

Akhand said their protracted investigations had found the involvment of former State Minister for Home Lutfuzzaman Babar, Zia's political secretary Haris Chowdhury, former minister and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Ali Ahsan Mujaheed and incumbent BNP lawmaker fugitive Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad.

The arrest warrant for Rahman comes weeks after a court sentenced his younger brother Arafat Rahman Koko to six years in prison for money laundering.

The chargesheet in the 2004 attack on the Awami League rally led by Hasina, the then main opposition party leader, also named three former police chiefs and ex-heads of two intelligence agencies, including former IGP Shahudul Haque, Ashraful Huda and Khoda Box Chowdhury.

Former directors general of National Security Intelligence (NSI) ex-brigadier Abdur Rahim and ex-major general Rezzakul Haidar Chowdhury, who subsequently became the chief of the agency were also named in the chargesheet.

The other intelligence officials, who were suspects in the case, included former director of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), ex-Major General ATM Amin, former NSI director Saiful Islam Joardar and BNP chairperson's nephew and private secretary Saiful Islam Duke.

The HuJI leaders and operatives named in the chargesheet, included Maulana Sheikh Abdus Salam who later floated a new outfit called IDP, Maulana Abdul Malek, Maulana Shawkat Osman alias Sheikh Farid and Mufty Shafiqur Rahman, Ratul Babu and Indian national and Pakistan-based LET leader Abdul Majed Bhat.

The earlier chargesheet had named 22 people, including former deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu and and his brother Maulana Tajuddin and HuJI chief Mufty Abdul Hannan.

The development came a day after BNP’s acting secretary general accused the government of plotting to involve Rahman in the case.

According to analysts, the arrest warrant against Rahman could spark a major political battle leading to violent street protests by Zia's BNP and its Islamist allies.

The BNP and its Islamist ally Jamaat-e-Islami today announced a 48-hour nationwide general strike from July 6 to protest the controversial amendment to scrap the nonpartisan caretaker government system during general elections, accusing the government of preparing the ground for rigging the 2014 polls.

PTI


First Published: Sunday, July 03, 2011, 21:56


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