Charges pressed against 8 in Holey café attack case

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Over two years after the worst terrorist attack in the country, police on July 23 pressed charges against eight people in the Holey Artisan café attack case.

Twenty-one people were identified behind the attack. Among them 13 people were killed in gunfights during anti-militant drives across the country in different times. Five of the militants, who took part directly in the attack, were killed during commando operation inside the Gulshan café. They are—Ruhan Imtiaj, Nibrash Islam, Meer Sami Mobasher, Khairul Islam Payel, and Shafiqul Islam Ujjal.

Among the other killed militants, Tamim Chowdhury was killed in Naryanganj during operation by the Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC), Sarwar Jahan was killed during Rab’s operation in Ashulia, Marjan during operation by the Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police in the city’s Mohammadpur, Tanvir Quaderi during operation by the CTTC at Azimpur, Maj (retd) Jahid by the CTTC at Rupnagar, Basharuzzaman Choklet and Choto Mijan during operation in Chapainawabganj  district and Abu Raihan Tarek was killed during anti-militant operation in the city’s Kallyanpur.

Addressing press at the DMP headquarters after the submission of the charge-sheet, CTTC head Monirul Islam, said, “We have completed investigation into the case of sensational attack on Gulshan Holey Artisan Bakery and Café attack, taken place two years back on July 1 night of 2016. After all the formalities, including approval from the home ministry, we have sent the charge sheet to the court,” he said.

Among the eight charge-sheeted accused, he said, six are now in jail and the rest two are absconding.

The six persons are Jahangir Alam alias Rajib Gandhi, Mahmudul Hasan Mijan, Sohel Mahfuz, Rashidul Islam alias Ryash, Boro Mijan and Hadisur Rahman Sagor. Two other accused —Mamunur Rashid Ripon and Shariful Islam Khaled — are still at large.

In the investigation, it has been found that the militant group had planned the attack six months ahead of its execution. Their aims were to make the country unstable as well as turn the country as a militants’ country, said Monirul.

“We have included the names of a number of employees of the Holey Artisan Bekary and Café, who gave information during interrogation, as depositions in the charge-sheet.  We have sent various samples to the USA for forensic report. We have already received the report, which was also submitted to the court as Alamat,” the CTTC chief said.

He said it needed much time to complete the investigation as all of the five militants, who were directly took part in the attack, got killed on the spot. Besides, the militants, who were involved behind the incident, many of them were killed during anti-militant drives.

Replying to a question, the CTTC chief said there were no names in the First Information Report (FIR) when the case filed with Gulshan Police station. A number of people were detained after the incident. Among them, only people, who were proved to be involved in the attack, were included in the charge-sheet after the investigation, he added.

As the former North South University teacher Hasnat Karim was not found guilty in the case, he has been relieved from the case, Monirul said. None of the hostages, who were rescued alive from inside the Holy Artisan café through commando operation, mentioned the name of Hasant Karim. Neo JMB was involved in the attack from beginning to end. Even, 211 people, including 149 witnesses, who gave statements, did not mention Hasnat Karim’s name, Monirul said.

Replying to a question, the CTTC chief said the investigators did not find any involvement of international militant organization like IS, Hizbut Tahrir or other foreign organization with the members of the Neo JMB. “However, if we could arrest Tamim Chowdhury or Tanvir Quaderi alive, then we might have gotten information regarding it,” he explained.

Twenty-two people -- nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, one Bangladeshi-born American and two Bangladeshis -- were killed in the terror attack in the restaurant on July 1, 2016.

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