The CID has submitted the supplementary charge sheet in the sensational murder of secular writer Ananta Bijoy Das adding the name of Islamist extremist Shafiur Rahman Farabi and bringing charges under a section of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
A self-confessed leader of banned militant outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir, Farabi’s name was dropped from the first charge sheet, submitted by the CID in the murder case filed under the Penal Code on August 28 last year. A Sylhet court rejected the charge sheet and ordered fresh investigation.
The court also observed considering severity of the gruesome murder and involvement of a banned militant group that charges should also be brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
[caption id="attachment_44653" align="alignleft" width="868"] Ananta Bijoy Das
The five others named in the fresh charge sheet are Abul Hossain, 25, of Sylhet’s Kanaighat; Faisal Ahmed, 27, of Khalpar Talbari; Mannan Yahya alias Hira alias Rahi alias Abdul Munaim, 24, of Kanaighat; Abul Khayer alias Rashid Ahmed, of Kanaighat; and Harunur Rashid, 25, of Tahirpur of Sunamganj.
Of them, Mannan and Abul Khayer – both students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology and from the same village – are now in jail while the others absconding.
Mannan gave confessional statement in the case.
Farabi was arrested on March 2, 2015 for instigating the murder of science writer and Mukto-Mona blog founder Avijit Roy. He is also accused in several other cases filed over similar allegations.
Avijit’s follower and an active member of the Sylhet unit Gonojagoron Moncho, Ananta was hacked to death by a group of assailants at Subidbazar Bankalapara of Sylhet city in broad daylight on May 12.
The Bangladesh chapter of al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), Ansar al-Islam (previously Ansarullah Bangla Team), took credit for the murder.
[caption id="attachment_44660" align="alignleft" width="870"] AQIS statement issued after the murder
The group has so far taken credit for 13 attacks since February 2013 in which 11 secularists, war crimes trial campaigners and LGBT rights activists were killed.
A US-based biomedical engineer and former Buet lecturer, Avijit was killed in a similar fashion on February 26, 2015 at TSC intersection. His follower and secular activist Oyasiqur Rahman Babu was killed by the same group on March 30 the same year in Dhaka.
Ananta was vocal against Jamaat-e-Islami, religion-based politics and superstitions.
He was the editor of science-based Magazine Jukti. He also received Mukto-Mona Rationalist Award in 2006.
Evolution was one of the central themes of many of his articles. He wrote several books including Parthib, 2001 (co-authored with Saikat Chowdhury), Darwin: Ekhush Shatake Prasongikota Ebong Bhabna, Soviet Union-e Bigyan O Biplob: Lisenko Odday etc.
CID Inspector and also Investigation Officer of the case Arman Ali submitted the supplementary charge sheet to the airport police station in mid-January, requesting the court to drop the names of 10 others as their involvement in the murder could not be found.
Later it was sent to the district magistrate, Deputy Commissioner Md Zainal Abedin, for approval. The DC confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune Sunday that he had approved the charge sheet.
It would be sent to the Sylhet Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, he added.
Court Inspector Jiban Krishna Dey said that copies of the charge sheet had also been sent to the commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police and the CMM Court.
IO Arman Ali could not be reached over the phone.
Earlier, the charges were pressed under sections 302 and 30 of the Penal Code against five persons.
According to sources in the airport police station, while submitting the supplementary charge sheet, the IO requested the district magistrate to approve the inclusion of section 40 of the Anti-Terrorism Act (amended 2013) since a banned militant group was involved in the murder. The CID has also suggested that 10 other suspects shown arrested in the case be relieved from the charges.
The 10 suspects are photojournalist Md Idris Ali of the Daily Shobuj Sylhet, Mannan’s brother Mohaymen Noman, Sadek Ali Mithu of Lakshmipur, Touhidur Rahman Gama of Jessore, Aminul Mollik of Dhaka’s Mirpur, Zakirullah Hassan of Jatrabari, Ariful Islam Arfan Mushfique of Pallabi, Julhas Bishwas of Bagerhat, Zafran Hassan of Naogaon and Abul Bashar of Barguna.
Of them, Idris was arrested on June 8, 2015 and got bail on October 28; key accused Mannan and his brother Noman were arrested from Sylhet on August 29, 2015; their associate Abul Khayer was arrested later. Both Noman and Khayer got bail on May 5 last year, but were arrested immediately in another case.
Touhidur, Aminul, Zakirul, Ariful, Mithu and Zafran are also accused in Avijit murder case.