Police are now certain that the money used to finance the deadly terror attacks in Gulshan, Dhaka and Sholakia, Mymensingh came from the Middle East, said Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam, chief of police's Counterterrorism and Transnational Crimes (CTTC) unit.
Speaking at a press briefing at Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Media Centre yesterday afternoon, he said the money came to Bangladesh via hundi transactions and the person who received it has been identified.
Police are also confirmed that the firearms used in the attacks entered Bangladesh through the Indian border, but they have yet to determine the source country, the CTTC chief said.
Asked about the source of the money, Monirul said they are not sure whether it originated from the Middle East, or someone from here sent it to the Middle East and had it sent back in order to throw off suspicion.
During investigation, police learnt about a single transaction of around Tk14 lakh which was mostly spent to buy guns and renting flats for the attackers, he said.
Names of militants Rajib Gandhi, Marjan and Basharuzzaman also came up during investigation; police are looking for them.
Monirul said Rajib Gandhi alias Shubhash Gandhi alias Shanto, whose real identity has not been confirmed yet, is a commander of the new faction of Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in the northern region of the country who supplied with two experienced attackers in Gulshan and one in Sholakia.
Police have yet to ascertain whether Holey Artisan Bakery chef Saiful Islam Chowkidar and waiting staff Jakir Hossain Shaon, both of whom died in the attack, were involved with the attackers as no evidence of their involvement has been found yet.
Meawhile, police sources said they had information that two local businesses – Al Sakina Catering House in Uttara, Dhaka and Biswas Hatcheries in Mymensingh – supposedly provided money to Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, the mastermind of Gulshan attack.
An employee of Biswas Hatcheries was a close acquaintance of Tamim's and gave him Tk50,000 per month for a few months, the sources said. Police are now looking for this employee.
Besides, Tanveer Quaderi, who committed suicide to avoid arrest during Azimpur raid, allegedly had a flat in Uttara which he sold to finance militancy, the sources added.
However, none of this information has been confirmed by the officials of police.
'New JMB has lost most of its strength'
Due to police investigation and several anti-militant drives over the past few months, the strength of NEW JMB has reduced by 60-70%, Monirul said at the press briefing.
Several top leaders of NEW JMB were killed during the drives and many others were injured or arrested, he said.
Two other top leaders who were involved in the murder of Prof Rezaul Karim of Rajshahi fled to India after the attack in April; there are no records of them entering the country since then, he added.
The CTTC believes that Rajib Gandhi and Marjan, two other top leaders of the faction, are still in the country, and Rajib is hiding the northern region.
Azimpur female militants identified
The identities of three female militants who were arrested during the police raid in Azimpur, Dhaka on September 10 have been confirmed.
They are Ferdousi Afrin, wife of JMB leader Basharuzzaman, Abedatul Fatema, wife of Tanveer Quaderi, and Shaila Afreen, wife of Marjan. All three are admitted at Dhaka Medical College Hospital and have yet to be interrogated, said the CTTC chief.
Among the three children who were found in the militant den, 10-month-old Sabiha Zaman, daughter of Ferdousi and Basharuzzaman, and seven-year-old Junaira Pinki, daughter of killed militant Major Zahid alias Murad, were handed over to their grandfathers. Thirteen-year-old Tahrim Quaderi Rasel, son of Tanveer Quaderi, was placed on remand for three days.
“He will be interrogated as we believe he may have vital information. The investigators will keep in mind his juvenile status,” Monirul said.