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Tuesday, November 6, 2012
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Grenade Attack 2004

Then PM didn't let DGFI launch probe

Ex-DGFI boss Rumi says Khaleda asked him not to proceed, Hannan told intelligence men about involvement of Tarique, Babar

Khaleda Zia as prime minister did not allow the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence chief to investigate the August 21 grenade assaults in 2004.

Maj Gen (retd) Sadik Hasan Rumi, the then DGFI director general, said this before a Dhaka court yesterday during his deposition as the 65th prosecution witness of the cases filed in connection with the attacks.

Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 recorded Rumi's nearly one-and-a-half hour statement and fixed November 11 for cross-examination by defence counsels.

Although the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, now prime minister, narrowly escaped death and suffered ear injury in the grenade blasts, 24 other AL activists, including Ivy Rahman, wife of President Zillur Rahman, were killed and around 300 maimed.

Rumi in his statement said that at about 5:30pm to 5:45pm on August 21, 2004, Col Imam informed him about the attacks over the mobile phone.

Rumi could reach neither Khaleda nor her ADC as she was at a public rally in Noakhali on the day.

He over phone requested the prime minister's political secretary, Harris Chowdhury, who was then with Khaleda, to inform her about the attack.

“Without expressing any reaction regarding the attack, Harris Chowdhury told me that he would pass the information on to the prime minister,” Rumi told the court, adding that Harris hung up before he could go into details.

“I contacted state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar over mobile phone. He replied he was in his office and had heard about the incident. He then cut the phone line.

“Later, I directed CIB director Brigadier Gen Rezzakul Haider and Col Imam to inform me about the incidents in detail. I also directed them to collect video footage and show it to me,” said the former DGFI DG.

“The next morning, Rezzakul informed me that on that night of the incidents, Babar had directed him to destroy two unexploded grenades by army experts. Under that instruction, Rezzakul that night sent army personnel to the place of occurrence. The army men took away two unexploded grenades.”

The next day, August 22, 2004, around 2:00pm, the DGFI DG met Khaleda Zia at her office and sought her permission to conduct an investigation.

“She [Khaleda] told me that a committee would be formed to enquire into the matter, and that I needn't investigate.”

Later, a meeting was held at the home ministry about this incident and there Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury represented the DGFI.

The former DGFI DG said he learnt from Rezzakul that the government-appointed investigation committee could unearth nothing.

In August 2006, information extracted from Shahedul Alam Bipul, a Huji operative, led Task Force Intelligence (TFI) to interrogate Mufti Abdul Hannan, detained leader of the militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (Huji).

Hannan told the TFI cell about the involvement of his organisation as well as Tarique Rahman, BNP ministers Babar and Abdus Slam Pintu in the attacks, Rumi said.

The statements of two other Huji men, including Pintu's brother Moulana Tajuddin, also corroborated Hannan's version.

Rumi said the DGFI came to know that grenades had been supplied by Tajuddin, who was sent abroad by some of his colleagues in DGFI as per the then BNP government's decision.

A DGFI representative to the TFI cell informed Brig Gen Amin and Lt Col Saiful Islam Joarder about Hannan's statement on the August 21 attack.

Since Mufti Hannan had mentioned the names of two ministers in his statement, the DGFI boss made it known to the prime minister in writing as well as verbally. “She [Khaleda] did not give me any other directive in this regard later.”

Meantime, the Rab DG called him, seeking DGFI help to capture Moulana Tajuddin. Rumi asked Lt Col Saiful Islam Joarder to help the elite crime buster get Tajuddin.

Saiful told the DGFI boss that there would be a problem if they handed over Tajuddin to Rab.

“When I asked what the problem was, he [Saiful] said the government was likely to be put in an embarrassing situation.”

A few days after this conversation, Rumi learnt from his colleague Big Gen Amin that Tajuddin, located through Huji founder Moulana Salam, was at a DGFI safe house in Gulshan.

Rumi directed Amin and Saiful to obtain every bit of information from Tajuddin. Sometime in October 2006, both officers informed the DG chief that Tajuddin's statement matched everything Hannan had revealed.

Afterwards, Brig Gen Amin and Lt Col Saiful informed Babar and the PM's private secretary-2 (also her nephew) Saiful Islam Duke about Moulana Tajuddin's statement.

Later the two DGFI officers informed their DG that Babar and Duke had told them about the prime minister's directive on sending Moulana Tajuddin abroad. Tajuddin wanted to go to Pakistan.

“Then I asked them why they had informed me about Tajuddin's wish to go to Pakistan even though they had made all arrangements,” Rumi said.

Duke is a nephew of the then prime minister while Saiful is Duke's brother-in-law.

As many DGFI reports were leaked out because of Amin's intimacy with the duo, it was impossible to maintain secrecy about the agency's work.

“I appealed to the authorities concerned to transfer them. But it was not done,” said Rumi.

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With the current political postings and pressure under which government official work it is very likely that their statement are meant for some political reason. People of Bangladesh are victim of corrupt undemocratic practices by the major political parties. The three pillars of democracy that is judiciary, legislative and executive should be free from corruption and bias. But that is not the fact in Bangladesh.

: barkat

So it is evident the ghastly incident was a state-sponsored terrorism in which so many valuable lives were lost and were about to be lost. None connected to it directly and indirectly should go unpunished to set an example once for all.

: Mahbubul Haque

Comments

  • narayan
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 05:12 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Let us not look in the past. Let us look into the future.

  • Mayen Uddin Tazim, former Advisor, UNDP
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 07:49 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Thanks to the DG of DGFI for giving his honest statement before the court in this connection. The fact is interesting similarly it has been being disappointed with the nation since the incident. Unfortunately, the nation has no opportunity for observing the final verdict of this tragic and barbaric incident although the fact is that the whole nation was frozen to observe the incident. We are eager to know why the former DG of the DGFI could not resign immediately as he was failed to discharge his duty properly. Ok, if he did not do that but why did not he express to the press immediately after falling BNP govt. Has he taken any initiative in this connection before giving the statement to the court yesterday?

  • Kazi Salim
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 08:40 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The main culprit Tajuddin who is hiding in Pakistan should be brought back through aggressive diplomatic efforts by the present government. At any cost Tajuddine should be extradited to Bangladesh. Only realistic actions are required to complete this grenade killing attacks in the country through tough punishments including death sentence and let there be a good lessons for the culprits, criminals that no one in the future would dare to commit this kind of mass killing.

  • Ahsan Shahriar
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 11:59 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Suggesting looking forward is a very positive mode of action in order to steer up the progression of development of the country in a good direction. However, past should be stored and revisited for at least for the sake of lessons learned and not to repeat the same mistake, for instance of such a grisly and heinous act with ulterior political motive.

  • Kazi Salim
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 12:23 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Mr barakat, dont try to justify the crime and mass killings committed by the BNP regime using Grenade to kill the then opposition leader and the entire leadership of Awamil Leauge, describing as Political motives. What is your actual motives in justifying the killings by grenades?

  • Mohammad Maruf Hossain
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 01:13 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    A blind man can understand the mastermind of this attack was the top leaders of the then BNP led Government. But it is hard to punish the high politicians in Bangladesh

  • Mohammad Maruf Hossain
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 01:33 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Keep the 4 party out of power for more 10 years then such kind of politics will go down otherwise not.

  • Rashid Ahmed
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 06:03 PM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Dear all so-called political leaders of our country, please do not inject politics into military institutions as you did into police department. This applies to all political parties.

  • Reaz Hassan
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 01:14 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    The inordinate delays in getting at the truths is frustrating. Even day-night work has not yet ended interrogations and investigations. I am afraid, in the end all these compilations of records and evidences may have to be started all over again if our political pendulum swings the opposite direction of which there is a good chance.

  • niloufar sarker
    Tuesday, November 6, 2012 01:20 AM GMT+06:00 (95 weeks ago)

    Apparently this seems like trying to finish an unfinished business of August 15,1975. The Daily Star published an article named how an accused was sent abroad on 12th August 2012, where you said that main accused Tajuddin, brother of Deputy Minister of BNP was given a safe passage to Pakistan. Pakistan obviously was complicit in trying to finish off a pro- Liberation political party, in giving this man safe haven. How was his visa arranged?


 

 


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