2018-10-10 13:03:38 BdST

Babar, 30 accused taken to Dhaka court


31 accused, including former State Minister for Home Lutfozzaman Babar and former Deputy Minister for Education Abdus Salam Pintu, were produced before a special tribunal in Dhaka which is set to deliver the verdict today (Wednesday) in two cases filed over the August 21 grenade attack on an Awami League rally in the capital in 2004.

They were brought to the Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 at Old Dhaka's Nazimuddin Road from Kashimpur Central Jail in Gazipur in three prison vans around 11:20am.

Earlier, the prison vans carrying the 31 accused who are behind the bars in connection with the cases started from the Gazipur jail around 6:45am amid tight security, said jail sources.

Judge Shahed Nuruddin of the speedy trial tribunal may start delivering the verdict in the two cases shortly, court sources said.

BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman, Babar, Salam and former top police and intelligence officials of the then BNP-led four-party alliance government are among 49 accused in the cases.

Of them, three accused -- Jamaat secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, and militant leaders Mufti Abdul Hannan and Sharif Shahedul Alam alias Bipul-- were dropped from the cases as they had been executed after convictions in other cases.

Besides, Tarique, then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's political secretary Abul Harris Chowdhury, former BNP MP Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad and 15 others have been on the run.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up in the capital, including in and around the special trial court, to fend off any untoward incident over the verdict.

Additional law enforcers were deployed in important points of the capital while members of Rapid Action Battalion, Bomb Disposal unit and Armed Police Battalion remained posted at Nazimuddin Road.

Besides, the movement of pedestrians on and around the road was also restricted, said DMP Deputy Commissioner (DC) Masudur Rahman.

On August 21, 2004, the grisly grenade attack was carried out on an anti-terrorism rally arranged by Awami League at Bangabandhu Avenue during the BNP-Jamaat alliance's rule, aiming to kill then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina.

At least 24 leaders and activists, including AL's women affairs secretary and late President Zillur Rahman's wife Ivy Rahman, were killed and 300 others injured in the grenade attack.

Although Sheikh Hasina fortunately escaped the attack unhurt, her hearing was affected badly.

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