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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Police: Shafik plotted Joy's abduction

Update : 18 Apr 2016, 04:07 PM
Shafik Rehman was physically present at a meeting in 2012 in the US where three others including an FBI official allegedly conspired to abduct and kill Sajeeb Wazed Joy, separate investigations by Bangladeshi and US officials have reportedly revealed. Daily Amar Desh Editor Mahmudur Rahman's involvement in the alleged plot was also found during the probe, said Monirul Islam, additional commissioner of DMP's Counter-terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune yesterday, he added that the police now plan to show Mahmudur – who is already behind bars on sedition charges – as arrested in a case filed with the Paltan police station. A prayer would be filed with a Dhaka court in this regard today, he added. On January 29, 2012, Shafik Rehman allegedly met with JaSaS vice-president's son Rizve Ahmed Caesar, the then FBI Special Agent Robert Lustyik, and Lustyik's friend Johannes Thaler to plot the abduction and murder of Joy – the son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Rizve, Lustyik and Thaler are currently serving jail sentences in the US in connection with a bribery scheme to dig up confidential information about Joy. When Joy came to know about the matter, he passed on the information to Bangladesh Police. Later in 2015, police first filed a general diary and then filed a case with Paltan police station. Sources close to the investigation told the Dhaka Tribune that they have received leads from US investigation agencies that suggest involvement of both Shafik and Mahmudur in the plot. The entire conspiracy against Joy began in 2011 following instructions from the BNP high command, the sources added. Rizve, son of Jatiyatabadi Samajik Sangskritik Sangstha (JaSaS) Vice-President Mohammad Ullah Mamun, initiated communication with US Federal Bureau of Investigation official Lustyik through their common acquaintance Thaler. Using Thaler as the medium, the men met on several occasions. At one of those meetings on  January 29, 2012, Shafik Rehman was allegedly present to plot Joy’s death. Rizve then reportedly sent emails containing documents that described Joy’s day-to-day movement to Milton Bhuiyan, a BNP leader living in New York’s Brooklyn. Milton then mailed the documents to Mahmudur, according to investigation sources. Milton also maintained regular communication with Shafik, which led the police to suspect that Shafik might also have received those documents. As part of the ongoing probe into the conspiracy, Bangladesh Police arrested Shafik on Saturday and is now planning to show Mahmudur arrested in the case as well. Asked why the case was filed with Paltan police when the murder plot had taken place in the US, Monirul said Rizve’s father Mamun visited Dhaka in 2011 for JaSaS council programme and had several meetings in JaSaS Paltan office. Police now suspect that the murder plot might have been hatched during the meetings in the JaSaS Paltan office; for this reason Mamun and other unidentified BNP members have also been accused in the case filed with Paltan police. Former Jaijaidin editor Shafik Rehman was arrested based on evidence, he added. “We are now questioning him in connection with the case as his involvement was found during investigation by US authorities as well,” the DMP additional commissioner said. Investigation officials might also travel to the US to dig deeper into the case, he added. Meanwhile, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu told reporters at the secretariat yesterday that Shafik Rehman was arrested not for his journalistic works, but because the police had specific information in connection with the former Jaijaidin editor’s involvement with the crime. At a separate event in the capital, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said they had information that at least three Bangladeshi individuals were involved in the plot to kill Joy. Hinting that Shafik and Mahmudur were two of those suspects, the minister however said the identity of the other individual would be disclosed in due time.
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