[Dhaka Correspondent] Detained former prime minister and Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina, will be questioned in connection with the deadly grenade attack on her rally at Bangabandhu Avenue that killed at least 24 people, including front-ranking Awami League leader Ivy Rahman, and injured and maimed more than a hundred others on August 21, 2004. Investigation officer of the case, assistant police superintendent Fazlul Kabir, told newsmen Tuesday that he sought permission from the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court and asked the jail authority to allow him to question her as an witness.
Sheikh Hasina will be an important witness in the case as she was the main target of the attack, CID (Criminal Investigation Department) officers said. CID has already recorded depositions of more than 20 persons injured by the grenade attack. Chief of CID, additional inspector-general Fani Bhushan Chowdhury, said that they had also written to the police headquarters to request Interpol to issue a warrant against Maulana Tajuddin who is suspected to be main supplier of the grenades used in attacking the Awami League rally.
Mufti Mohammad Hannan, leader of the banned Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami, in his confessional statement named Tajuddin as the supplier of the grenades. His associates — Bipul, Maulana Abu Sayeed and brother Muhibullah alias Obhi — also named Tajuddin. Maulana Tajuddin, younger brother of Abdus Salam Pintu, former deputy minister for information of the previous government, is believed to have left the country in 2006 and is now staying in an African country, said CID sources.
Tajuddin, also a brother-in-law of a former Jamaat-e Islami lawmaker from Comilla, came in contact with a Pakistani militant leader, Fazlul Haque Khalili, when he went to study in Jamia Yusuf Bin Madrassah in Pakistan. Khalili came to Bangladesh in 1999 and set up a non-government organization in Gopibagh. He used to live in the guest-house of Al-Marquajul Islami in Shyamoli during his stay in Dhaka, and Maulana Tajuddin was his representative in Bangladesh.
Tajuddin, after the grisly 21 grenade attack, remained in Dhaka because he was not among the suspects. He went into hiding after Mufti Hannan’s arrest in October 2005 and left the country before Ramadan in 2006. CID sources said that out of the 12 persons directly involved in the attack, Ahsanullah Kajal and Mursalin were believed to be staying in India. Kajal was reportedly killed in an encounter with the Indian police and Mursalin was arrested there. However, CID has written to the police superintendent of Faridpur to confirm their whereabouts.
Based on the Mufti Hannan’s statement, RAB arrested nine of his associates, including Abul Kalam Bulbul, Mohammad Jahangir, Omar Faruk alias Laden, Amirul Islam Montree, Abdul Quddus, Tamim and Ali Ahmed from Jhenaidah, Narsingdi, Kushtia and Magura on October 28. Of them, Bulbul and Jahangir are being interrogated by the members of Task Force for Interrogation for the fifth day of their 10-day remand since November 8. Five other arrested persons will be brought to Dhaka for interrogation by the TFI within a couple of days.