One of the key suspects of the murder case was killed in a gunfight in Dhaka, while those who police believe were the plotters are still out of the reach of law.
The investigation’s supervising officer Deputy Commissioner of Detective Branch Mashrukur Rahman Khaled told the Dhaka Tribune that the investigation was making progress.
Police now knows that the killing was ordered by the Islamist terrorist group Ansarullah Bangla Team’s top leader sacked army officer Major Zia and its planning and supervising was done by Salim, a senior member of the group.
“We found the names of some of the criminals involved the killing, but we are yet to find their location and arrest them. However, we have arrested eight people as suspects.
“Ansarullah Bangla Team militant Shariful Islam alias Mukul Rana, who took part in the killing of Avijit Roy, was killed in a gunfight at Khilgaon’s Maradia in Dhaka on June 19 last year,” Mashrukur said.
“We have found out everything about the murder. We have enough evidence to press charges. But we are waiting to arrest Salim and the other suspects,” Mashruk said.
A Dhaka court has ordered police to submit their investigation report on the murder on March 27. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Md Khorshed Alam passed the order on February 22 as the detective branch Inspector Md Fazlur Rahman, the investigation officer of the case, failed to submit the report that day.
The assailants hacked Avijit and his wife Rafida Ahmed Banna at TSC area near Bangla Academy on February 26 in 2015, as they left the Ekushey Book Fair.
After the incident, Avijit’s father professor Dr Ajoy Roy filed a case with Shahabagh Police Station. The police Detective Branch took over the case. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showed interest in helping with the investigation, as both victims were US citizens. A four-member team of FBI arrived in Dhaka on March 4, 2015.
Police later sent the FBI 13 pieces of evidence including the blood-stained machetes used by the killers, hair, bag, unused syringes, magazines, jeans and cotton for forensic exam. The DNA exam report came to the investigating agency.
The DNA samples do not match the eight arrested suspects.
Several officials involved in the investigation said analysing the CCTV footage of book fair, they found that six or seven people, including Shariful and Salim, had been following Avijit and Banna hours before the attack.
Shihab, a suspected militant arrested for the attack on Ahmedur Rashid Tutul, owner of publication house Suddhaswar, told the police that Shariful took part in the killing.
Police also found a picture of Salim at that point. Later, the picture was published in the media and a bounty was announced. But that has not worked so far.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police uploaded parts of the CCTV footage on its Facebook page in August last year urging the public to provide any information they had about the suspects. There has been no response to this either.