2004 [BNP-led alliance in power]
At 5:22pm, Islamic militant outfit Huji carries out the grenade attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka, killing 24 people and injuring 300 more. Sheikh Hasina narrowly escapes assassination.
Attackers leave the spot safely, reportedly with the help of the administration and the law enforcement agencies.
Hasina blames the BNP-led government for the attack and asks it to quit.
AL activists hold angry protests.
Shock waves run through the AL. Party activists stage protests and clash with police in the capital. Police file a case with Motijheel Police Station in connection with the grenade attack and investigate for a day only.
The government forms a one-member judicial inquiry commission led by a High Court judge.
Police and BNP men attack AL protest processions.
US President George W Bush expresses shock at the grenade attack. US Secretary of State Colin Powell phones Hasina and PM Khaleda Zia to convey the message. He describes the attackers as enemies of the people.
The US, the UK, Pakistan and India offer help to probe the carnage.
Khaleda shelves her plan to visit Hasina amid protests.
The Detective Branch (DB) of police takes charge of investigation but fails to begin its work.
The AL and its allies enforce two-day countrywide hartal protesting the attack, crippling the country. Rail links collapse.
Several foreign missions in Dhaka express dissatisfaction over the government’s poor performance in identifying the criminals involved in the 10-truck arms haul and bomb attacks in different parts of the country.
The government announces that it will seek Interpol’s help to investigate the carnage. The CID takes over the investigation.
Interpol experts arrive in Dhaka, scan carnage scene and collect information from local investigators.
FBI agents arrive to probe the grenade attack.
US State Department’s counter-terrorism coordinator Joseph Cofer Black arrives and meets Khaleda and Hasina.
The judicial inquiry commission claims in its report to have identified the perpetrators of the carnage, but its head Justice Joynul Abedin declines to disclose their identities, hinting at the involvement of foreign forces apart from the local ones.
Note: A few months later, senior CID officials make up farcical Joj Mia story and detain him and 20 more petty criminals. Joj Mia and two others are forced to give statements confessing their involvement in carrying out the grenade attack. Their real identities are later revealed by the media. The ludicrous nature of the investigation is exposed by the end of 2004.
Yet the CID does not go for further investigation. Rather, it keeps wasting time by proceeding with the farcical investigation through 2005 and 2006. The CID officials prepare for submitting the charge sheet on the basis of their so-called investigation.
2007 [Caretaker Government Regime]
A new CID official is given the charge for fresh investigation into the carnage.
2008, June 11
The CID submits charge sheet accusing 22, including Huji leader Mufti Hannan and former deputy minister of the BNP-led government Abdus Salam Pintu. The charge sheet hints at the involvement of some government and security high-ups in the plot.
Court frames charges against the 22 accused (and begins trial the following month).
2009 [AL-led alliance in power]
Prosecution files a petition with the court for further investigation to identify the suppliers of Arges grenades and sources of financing.
Court orders further investigation.
A new CID official is assigned for conducting further investigation (and he continues the task for about 23 months).
2011, July 3
The CID submits supplementary charge sheet accusing 30 more individuals, including politicians, senior officials of civil and military intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
2012, March 18
Court frames fresh charges against 30 individuals accused in the supplementary charge sheet, taking the number of accused to 52.
Khaleda Zia’s elder son Tarique Rahman; then state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar; Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to then PM Khaleda; Jamaat leader and then social welfare minister Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed; then BNP MP Kazi Shah Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad; then DGFI director Brig Gen Rezzaqul Haider Chowdhury; then NSI director general Brig Gen Abdur Rahim; owner of Hanif Paribahan Mohammad Hanif; and then councillor of DCC Ward-53 Ariful Islam Arif are charged with masterminding and approving the attack plan executed by Huji men and their accomplices.
Huji founder Abdus Salam, Huji leaders Moulana Sheikh Farid, Moulana Abdur Rouf and Moulana Abdul Hannan Sabbir, Kashmir-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leader Abdul Malek alias Golam Mohammad, Pakistan-based LeT leader Yusuf Butt alias Majid Butt, Mufti Shafiqur Rahman, Mufti Abdul Hai, Hafez Moulana Yahya and Babu alias Ratul Babu are indicted for killing, causing grievous hurt, attempt to murder, abetment and criminal liability.
Then IGP Shahudul Haque and then DMP commissioner Ashraful Huda are charged with providing financial and administrative support to the attackers.
Then deputy commissioner (East) of the DMP Obaidur Rahman and then DC (South) of the DMP Khan Sayeed Hassan are charged with having the evidence of the attack vanish and providing the killers with administrative assistance.
Lt Commander (retd) Saiful Islam Duke, also the nephew and private secretary to then PM Khaleda; then director of Counter Terrorism Intelligence Bureau of DGFI Maj Gen ATM Amin; and then DGFI official (later sacked) Saiful Islam Joarder are charged with protecting militant Tajuddin, who supplied the Arges grenades used in the attack, and helping him flee to Pakistan.
Then senior officials of the CID — SP Ruhul Amin, ASP Munshi Atiqur Rahman and ASP Abdur Rashid — and former IGP Khoda Baksh Chowdhury are charged with misleading the case and creating the ridiculous Joj Mia drama to save the killers.
Ruhul Amin, Atiqur Rahman and Abdur Rashid were the officials who led the first investigation when Khoda Baksh was IGP.
2015, Aug 19
The court so far has recorded statements of 176 witnesses out of 491 in the case.
Compiled by Shakhawat Liton and Chaitanya Chandra Halder
Source: The Daily Star