Grenade Attack 2004: Then PM didn't let DGFI launch probe
Ex-DGFI boss Rumi says Khaleda asked him not to proceed, Hannan told
intelligence men about involvement of Tarique, Babar
Khaleda Zia as prime minister did not allow the Directorate General of
Forces Intelligence chief to investigate the August 21 grenade
assaults in 2004.Maj Gen (retd) Sadik Hasan Rumi, the then DGFI
director general, said this before a Dhaka court yesterday during his
deposition as the 65th prosecution witness of the cases filed in
connection with the attacks.
Judge Shahed Nuruddin of Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 recorded Rumi's
nearly one-and-a-half hour statement and fixed November 11 for
cross-examination by defence counsels.
Although the then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, now prime minister,
narrowly escaped death and suffered ear injury in the grenade blasts,
24 other AL activists, including Ivy Rahman, wife of President Zillur
Rahman, were killed and around 300 maimed.
Rumi in his statement said that at about 5:30pm to 5:45pm on August
21, 2004, Col Imam informed him about the attacks over the mobile
phone.Rumi could reach neither Khaleda nor her ADC as she was at a
public rally in Noakhali on the day.
He over phone requested the prime minister's political secretary,
Harris Chowdhury, who was then with Khaleda, to inform her about the
attack."Without expressing any reaction regarding the attack, Harris
Chowdhury told me that he would pass the information on to the prime
minister," Rumi told the court, adding that Harris hung up before he
could go into details.
"I contacted state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar over mobile
phone. He replied he was in his office and had heard about the
incident. He then cut the phone line."Later, I directed CIB director
Brigadier Gen Rezzakul Haider and Col Imam to inform me about the
incidents in detail. I also directed them to collect video footage and
show it to me," said the former DGFI DG.
"The next morning, Rezzakul informed me that on that night of the
incidents, Babar had directed him to destroy two unexploded grenades
by army experts. Under that instruction, Rezzakul that night sent army
personnel to the place of occurrence. The army men took away two
The next day, August 22, 2004, around 2:00pm, the DGFI DG met Khaleda
Zia at her office and sought her permission to conduct an
investigation."She [Khaleda] told me that a committee would be formed
to enquire into the matter, and that I needn't investigate."
Later, a meeting was held at the home ministry about this incident and
there Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury represented the DGFI.The former DGFI
DG said he learnt from Rezzakul that the government-appointed
investigation committee could unearth nothing.
In August 2006, information extracted from Shahedul Alam Bipul, a Huji
operative, led Task Force Intelligence (TFI) to interrogate Mufti
Abdul Hannan, detained leader of the militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al
Islami (Huji).Hannan told the TFI cell about the involvement of his
organisation as well as Tarique Rahman, BNP ministers Babar and Abdus
Slam Pintu in the attacks, Rumi said.
The statements of two other Huji men, including Pintu's brother
Moulana Tajuddin, also corroborated Hannan's version.
Rumi said the DGFI came to know that grenades had been supplied by
Tajuddin, who was sent abroad by some of his colleagues in DGFI as per
the then BNP government's decision.
A DGFI representative to the TFI cell informed Brig Gen Amin and Lt
Col Saiful Islam Joarder about Hannan's statement on the August 21
Since Mufti Hannan had mentioned the names of two ministers in his
statement, the DGFI boss made it known to the prime minister in
writing as well as verbally. "She [Khaleda] did not give me any other
directive in this regard later."
Meantime, the Rab DG called him, seeking DGFI help to capture Moulana
Tajuddin. Rumi asked Lt Col Saiful Islam Joarder to help the elite
crime buster get Tajuddin.Saiful told the DGFI boss that there would
be a problem if they handed over Tajuddin to Rab. "When I asked what
the problem was, he [Saiful] said the government was likely to be put
in an embarrassing situation."
A few days after this conversation, Rumi learnt from his colleague Big
Gen Amin that Tajuddin, located through Huji founder Moulana Salam,
was at a DGFI safe house in Gulshan.
Rumi directed Amin and Saiful to obtain every bit of information from
Tajuddin. Sometime in October 2006, both officers informed the DG
chief that Tajuddin's statement matched everything Hannan had
Afterwards, Brig Gen Amin and Lt Col Saiful informed Babar and the
PM's private secretary-2 (also her nephew) Saiful Islam Duke about
Moulana Tajuddin's statement.
Later the two DGFI officers informed their DG that Babar and Duke had
told them about the prime minister's directive on sending Moulana
Tajuddin abroad. Tajuddin wanted to go to Pakistan.
"Then I asked them why they had informed me about Tajuddin's wish to
go to Pakistan even though they had made all arrangements," Rumi
said.Duke is a nephew of the then prime minister while Saiful is
As many DGFI reports were leaked out because of Amin's intimacy with
the duo, it was impossible to maintain secrecy about the agency's
work. "I appealed to the authorities concerned to transfer them. But
it was not done," said Rumi.
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