Another 11 people including Khaleda Zia's former political secretary Harris Chowdhury and Sylhet Mayor Ariful Haq Chowdhury have been accused in a supplementary charge sheet in the Awami League leader and former finance minister AMS Kibria murder case.
Harris Chowdhury is still at large. Police source said Harris fled the country during the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker regime. He might be hiding out some place at UK, source added.
Harris, Ariful and Habiganj Mayor Golam Kibria Gaus were included in the third supplementary chargesheet filed on Thursday. Meherunnesa Parul, assistant superintendent of police of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) submitted the charge sheet to the Habiganj District and Sessions Judge's Court on Thursday afternoon. Charges of bomb blasts and killings have been brought against them.
ASP Meherunnesa Khanum said "We have submitted the supplementary charge sheet against 35 people. Of them, 11 were newly added."
Those indicted freshly in the third charge-sheet are Ariful Haque Chowdhury, Harris Chowdhury, Habiganj district BNP general secretary GK Gaus, Sheikh Tajuddin, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hai, Mohammad Ali, Badrul, Muhibur Rahman, Kajal and Hafez Yahiya.
Kibria along with four others was killed in a grenade attack on a rally at Baidyer Bazar in Habiganj on January 27, 2005. He died while being taken to Dhaka. His nephew Shah Monjurul Huda, Awami League leaders Abdur Rahim, Abul Hossain and Siddiq Ali were also killed in the attack. Over 100 Awami League activists were injured.
The day after the grenade attack, Abdul Mazid Khan, organising secretary of Habiganj district AL, filed two cases with Habiganj Sadar Police Station.
But the trial in the two cases has not begun even nine years after the filing of the cases. Parul was appointed Investigation officer (IO) in the cases in January 2012.
During the BNP-led government's tenure in 2005, the Home Ministry assigned Munshi Atiqur Rahman of the CID as the IO in the two cases. He submitted a charge sheet on March 20, 2005, accusing 10 people, including local BNP activists, of involvement in the attack.
Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal Judge Biplab Goswami accepted the charge sheet but couldn't start trial as the complainant filed a no confidence petition with the court.
As the tribunal rejected the petition, the complainant sought time for lodging a petition with the High Court for a stay on the proceedings. And the tribunal granted the petitioner 10 days. Upon an appeal by the complainant, the HC on May 5, 2006 stayed the proceedings.
Following another appeal by the complainant, the Sylhet tribunal on May 14, 2006 ordered further probe into the cases.
And in line with that order, CID's Assistant Commissioner Rafiqul Islam was tasked with further investigations during the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker regime.
Rafiqul submitted a supplementary charge sheet to a Habiganj magistrate's court on June 20, 2011, naming 14 more people, including Lutfozzaman Babar, ex-state minister for home, and Mufti Abdul Hannan, chief of banned militant outfit Huji, as accused in the cases.
The twelve others are former deputy minister and BNP leader Abdus Salam Pintu's brother Moulana Tajuddin, Mizan, Mithu, Abu Zandal, Hannan's younger brother Mohibullah Ovi, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul, Naim Ahmed Arif alias Limu, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hye and Ahsanullah Kajal.
Of the 11, Kajal died in India in 2006, while Shafiqur, Hye and Tajuddin are still at large and the rest are behind bars.
A week later, Asma filed a petition with the Habiganj court expressing no confidence in the investigation. The court then forwarded the case documents and the petition to the Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal.
A Dhaka court earlier framed charges against Harris Chowdhury in Zia Orphanage Trust case and Zia Charitable Trust case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission.