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
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