Detectives: DU lab staff supplied explosives to militants

Detective Branch of police present four people arrested on charges of supplying chemicals used for making explosives to militant groups Harkat-ul Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) and Ansarullah Bangla Team, at the DMP Media Centre yesterday
Photo- Mahmud Hossain Opu

Members of the Detective Branch of police early yesterday arrested four people including a lab assistant of Dhaka University for selling and supplying explosives to different militant outfits and saboteurs.

The DB officials, however, are yet to confirm whether the arrestees have been involved with any radical Islamist group or sell those to anyone in exchange for money.

The latest arrests were made based on information given during interrogation by the members of Bangladesh Jihadi Group – a platform of banned militant organisations including Harkat-ul Jihad Al Islami Bangladesh (HujiB) and Ansarullah Bangla Team.

The four are Gazi Mohammad Babul, lab assistant of soil science department at DU; Ripon Mollah, owner of Asia Scientific Shop; Nasir Uddin, owner of FM Chemical and Sons; and Mohiuddin, manager of Western Scientific Company.

Babul was arrested around 1am from DU area while the three others from their shops at Tikatuli around 3am. “The arrestees are involved in selling bomb-making explosives to members of the Bangladesh Jihadi Group arrested on June 7,” Monirul Islam, joint commissioner of DB police, said yesterday.

“They used to import explosive materials legally but were selling those to the militants without checking proper documents required as per the law,” he added.

These chemical substances are used for creating massive destruction, Monirul, also the DMP spokesperson, told reporters at a briefing.

Among the nine detained members of the Jihadi Group, Khaled alias Ifti is an Ansarullah activist. A former student of DU soil science department, Ifti first asked for explosives from Babul. “As per the demand, Babul went to Tikatuli and collected huge quantity of explosives from the three shops and later sold it out to Ifti,” Monirul said.

During their arrest on June 7, the law enforcers recovered 6kg bomb-making materials, eight bombs and six chocolate bombs from their possessions and also unearthed a laboratory at Sutrapur. Detectives said the militants had also completed testing the explosives a makeshift training camp in Jajira area of Shariatpur.

Six out of the nine are members of HujiB while the others are affiliated with Ansarullah.

They were planning to rob two banks, and then kill Shahjalal University teacher Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal and Gonojagoron Moncho Spokesperson Imran H Sarker for their anti-Islamic views.

The four arrestees claimed that they had no idea about the identity of the buyer and purpose.

Babul in interrogation told the detectives that Ifti had identified himself as a teacher of a college and asked for the chemicals. When he asked for the chemicals, the three shop owners provided those without checking any valid documents.

There are around 350 authorised chemical shops in the capital who import the explosive substances and are supposed to sell those to authorised organisations including laboratories of different institutes.

As per the law, the shop owners need to check identity and related documents of the buyers before selling the explosives. “But the arrestees did not follow the procedure,” Monirul said.

He suspects that such shops might have supplied explosives to the political activists involved in sabotages. “We are now checking their sales register,” he said.

When asked, Monirul about how many days they are doing this, Monirul, says in primary interrogation, we have came to know that these four arrests, only sells explosives to the arrested Jihadi group members, but we would interrogate them after taking remand to know more details about it.

Asked whether the four arrestees had been involved with Bangladesh Jihadi Group, Monirul said they were investigating the matter. “Primarily we have learnt that so
far they sold explosives to only the Jihadi Group. We are also checking whether any more DU staff is involved in such activities,” he added.

DB deputy commissioners Mashruqure Rahman Khaled and Shaikh Nazmul Alam; DMP DC Muntasirul Islam and DMP ADC Jahangir Alam Sarker were also present at the briefing among others.

Legal action would be taken against the arrestees, Monirul said.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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