A Rangpur court on Thursday accepted the charge sheet pressed against eight members of banned militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh in Japanese citizen Hoshi Kunio killing case.
The Court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Arifur Rahman also excluded five people, including BNP leader Rashedun Nabi Khan Biplab, from the case, as their involvement in the killing was not found during the investigation.
Of the accused, JMB regional commander Masud Rana, military commander Eshak Ali, Liton Mia and Abu Sayeed Mia are now in police custody while three others – Saddam Hossain alias Sobuj, Ahsanullah Biplob and Shakhawat alias Shafiq – are absconding. Another accused Nazrul Islam alias Bike Hassan was killed in a gunfight with the police on August 2.
Converted Muslim Kunio, 65, who ran a grass farm at Kaunia in Rangpur, was shot dead in broad daylight near his house in Kachu Alutari area on October 3, 2015. After the killing, police claimed that leaders and activists of the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami were involved in the killing.
International terrorist group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the murder. It also took credit for killing Italian citizen Cesare Tavella in Gulshan Diplomatic Zone on September 28, 2015.
Police then arrested eight people, including local BNP leader Biplab and Hoshi’s business partner Hira, in connection with the killing. Biplab, Hira and the three Jubo Dal leaders were also remanded in the case.
The investigation took a new turn after Masud Rana, 40, was arrested on December 9, 2015. He also made a confessional statement before a Rangpur court saying that he himself shot Kunio, who was on a rickshaw.
Later, police arrested Eshak Ali. He also gave confessional statement before a court.
On July 2, police pressed the charges and prayed to court to drop the names of eight BNP men.
Aftab Hossain, lawyer of Biplab, told the Dhaka Tribune that he would file a defamation case, as his client had to be in prison despite being innocent.