Sacked officers behind attack on Bangladesh lawmaker: Report

November 10th, 2009 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, Nov 10 (IANS) Five Bangladesh Army officers, who have been detained for questioning, have named six of their dismissed superiors as the masterminds behind last month’s bomb attack on a lawmaker, a media report said.
The five have also claimed that Lt. Col. Saiful Islam Joarder, one of the six, provided funds for the attempt on Fazle Noor Taposh’s life.

The bomb attack in front of Taposh’s law chamber Oct 21 left 13 persons injured. Taposh escaped unhurt.

The suspected involvement of serving and former army officials in an attempt to kill a politician adds a twist to the ongoing trial of former officers in the assassination of the country’s founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and most of his family members, in a military putsch in 1975.

Taposh, a ruling Awami League lawmaker, is appearing before a Supreme court bench hearing the trial.

He is also a nephew of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and his parents were among those killed in 1975.

Home Minister Sahara Khatun, directed by the prime minister to probe the case, has linked the attack on Taposh to the Mujib murder trial.

Taposh is also a lawyer for the government that is preparing to try troopers of the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) who mutinied in February, killing 71 people.

Joarder has been on the run since he lost his job Nov 5 for suspected links with the blast.

Besides him, three other Lieutenant Colonels - Abdur Rouf, Zahid and Afzal - were dismissed that day.

The remaining two - Brig Gen Habibur Rahman Rukon Uddin and Major Zakir Hossain - have been sent into retirement.

The five army officers, detained for questioning five days ago, are still being quizzed. Of them, four hold the rank of captain while one is a major.

Investigators claim Habibur Rahman Rukon Uddin has been a rokon (full-member) of Jamaat-e-Islami, while Saiful Islam Joarder had close relations with sacked Brig Gen Abdullahil Aman Al Ajmi, son of Jamaat’s former Ameer (chief) Golam Azam.

Jamaat, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, had opposed the freedom movement and the country’s separation from Pakistan.

Detectives have traced 35 cellphone numbers that were used by the suspected plotters and attackers. Some of those who had used the numbers have been detained and interrogated by intelligence officials, police said.

The Detective Branch of the police have so far arrested seven people for suspected links with the bomb attack. Of those arrested, five belong to families of Mujib murder convicts.

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