HOLEY ARTISAN ATTACK CASE

Charge sheet by July 1 unlikely

Muktadir Rashid | Published: 03:30, Jun 27,2018 | Updated: 03:34, Jun 27,2018

 
 

A file photo shows policemen guarding Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka after 2016 terror attack. — New Age photo

The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of Dhaka Metropolitan Police is not sure about the submission of charge sheet on the extremist attack on Holey Artisan Bakery by July 1, the second anniversary of the attack.
The investigators continued claiming that they had completed the investigation long ago and now were scrutinising the evidence to make the charge sheet would undisputable.
‘We have completed the investigation and charge sheet would be submitted very soon,’ said unit deputy
commissioner Mohibul Islam Khan, who has been supervising the case for about two years.
None of the officials specified when the charge sheet would be submitted to the court.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters on June 28, 2017 that the charge sheet would be submitted soon while the unit chief, Monirul Islam, had told the media that the charge sheet would be submitted by March 2018.
On June 12, 2018, metropolitan police commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia again claimed that the charge sheet would be submitted in a month.
‘We are cautiously preparing the charge sheet taking time instead of making hurry to give a flawless charge sheet and it will take one more month,’ he argued at a meeting on law and order and traffic management at Mohakhali.
Another unit official said that he believed there should not be any harry in such a case to ensure a perfect investigation.
‘We have found huge connections of the attackers and we need to examine who had linked up with the attackers for the attack,’ one of the investigators said.
The investigators branded 30-year-old Bangladeshi-Canadian Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury as the mastermind of the attack which, the investigators believed, was finally planned three months before the attack.
The investigators, however, claimed that they could establish no connection between the extremist group and foreign fighters.
They found that half of the suspected extremists were former operatives of banned extremist group Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, while the rest, including retired major Jahidul Islam, pledged allegiance to Tamim.
The investigators found involvement of 22 individuals in the attack.
Tamim’s five ‘trusted’ operatives — Nibrash Islam, Mir Samih Mubashir and Rohan Imtiaz, all from English-medium background, and Md Khairul Islam Payel alias Badhan and Md Shafiqul Islam Uzzal alias Bikash, both from Bogra — were killed in an operation on July 2, 2016, when army commandos stormed into the café to rescue hostages.
Eight other suspects — Tamim, former JMB operative Sarwar Jahan, Chittagong University student Nurul Islam Marjan, retired major Jahidul Islam, software engineer Basharuzzaman Chocolate, Abu Raihan Tarik and banker Tanvir Qaderi — were killed in operations in Dhaka and elsewhere.
Whereabouts of two suspected extremists — Shariful Islam Khalid and Mamunur Rashid Ripon — were yet to be known.
The investigators claimed that the two, convicted of the murder of Rajshahi University English professor AKM Rezaul Karim Siddique on April 23, 2016, fled to India.
The number of suspects would be 21 if Hasnat Karim is not named in the charge sheet, one of the investigators added.
The investigators specified the role of the attackers, the financers and arms suppliers, while security forces branded the operatives as members of JMB faction led by Sarwar and Tamim.
JMB, however, in online statements in 2016 and 2017, dismissed its involved in the attack and claimed that a few misguided members had left the outfit.
Arms, ammunition and explosives were brought from India, and money came from Middle East, the investigators said.
As of March 25, 2018, the counter terrorism unit captured seven suspects — Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, Rashed alias Rash, Sohel Mafuz Nasrullah, Rakibul Islam Regan, Mizanur Rahman, Hadisur Rahman Sagor and hostage Hasnat Karim, who was there with his family and was caught during interrogation.
Of them, Jahangir Alam, Raqibul Islam and Mizanur Rahman made statements in courts and reportedly named 21 individuals.
Middle East extremist organisation Islamic State claimed the responsibility of a number of attacks including the Holey Artisan attack, and Jahangir and others were also named in those cases.
On July 1, 2016, five young men armed with guns and knives stormed the upscale café at Gulshan, held dozens hostage and killed 22, including 17 foreigners.
Some 31 cops were injured in the incident.
The bakery’s chef Saiful Chokider was also killed in commando operation while staff Mohammad Shaon later died at Dhaka Medical College Hospital in custody.
The investigators said they were yet to identify any connection of chef Saiful and staff Mohammad Shaon to the attack.
After the café attack, at least 80 suspected extremists, all of the JMB faction, or their family members were either killed or committed suicide in law enforcers’ raids at places including Dhaka. 

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