BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday alleged that the trial process of the August-21 grenade attack case was nothing but a “stage-managed drama”.
Speaking at a conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, he also claimed that their party’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman and other leaders were not involved in any way in the grenade attack.
"The trial process has ended. I would like to say the whole thing (trial process) is absolutely a stage-managed drama," the BNP leader said.
He alleged that the names of Tarique Rahman and other BNP leaders have been included in the case deliberately out of political vendetta. “We have records that this was done without any proper investigation.”
Fakhrul said Tarique’s name was not there in the first three first information reports (FIRs) of the case.
Later, he said retired police officer Abdul Kahar Akhand, who sought Awami League nomination, was re-appointed and made the Investigation Officer (IO) of the case. “That gentleman gave
Tarique Rahman's name there in the FIR."
The BNP leader also said Tarique’s name was not mentioned anywhere in the entire investigation.
He said only Mufti Hannan was forced to tell Tarique’s name after being remanded for about 145 days, but he denied it later and gave an affidavit in this regard.
Fakhrul said the Awami League shifted their scheduled venue of the August-21 rally to another place without informing the then authorities of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
“We have repeatedly said that there should be an impartial and fair investigation into the grenade attack incident. That neutral investigation was not done. We condemn the August-21 incident. It’s definitely one of the heinous incidents in Bangladesh politics and it’s condemnable,” he said.
The BNP leader said the government has been trying to make a political gain by ‘unnecessarily’ implicating the BNP leaders in the case.
"We repeat that Tariq Rahman, BNP's Abdus Salam Pintu or Lutfuzzaman Babar were not involved in the attack and they’re implicated in it for political reasons," he said.
The August 21 grenade attack was carried out at an anti-terrorism rally organised by the then-opposition Awami League in 2004 in front of its central office on Bangabandhu Avenue, killing 24 people and injuring nearly 1,000.
On October 10, 2018, a Dhaka court convicted and sentenced 49 people -- 19 of them to death and 19 others to life imprisonment. Eleven others were sentenced to jail on different terms.
Tarique and 18 others were sentenced to life in prison while former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and ex-deputy minister Abdus Salam Pintu and 17 others were given the death penalty on charges of killing through criminal conspiracy.