Members of police Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit (CTTC) have arrested a most wanted man from Dhaka’s Mohammadpur area in connection with the killing of writer Avijit Roy.
The arrestee was identified as 34-year-old Md Abu Siddiq Sohel alias Sakib alias Sajid alias Shahab, an active member of intelligence and IT branch of Ansar al-Islam, known also as Ansarullah Bangla Team.
Confirming the matter, Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner (media) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said the arrestee had confessed in court that he is an active member of Ansar al-Islam and had direct involvement in the murder of the science author and activist Avijit in 2015.
Police had been investigating Avijit murder with priority, he said.
“When CTTC learned that Sohel was in the Mohammadpur area, a team conducted a drive in an Iqbal Road house around 8:05pm Sunday and arrested him,” he said.
Sohel was identified from the CCTV footage from the day Avijit was killed, Masudur Rahman said.
Sohel gave a confessional statement admitting his involvement in the Avijit murder. Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Muhammad Ahsan Habib recorded his confessional statement on Monday afternoon.
In initial interrogation, Sohel informed police that they took part in the assassination directed by their elder brother banned militant outfit organisation Ansar al-Islam’s leader Major (sacked) Syed Md Ziaul Haque alias Zia, who is still a fugitive with a bounty of Tk20 lakh on his head, said CTTC deputy commissioner Mohibul Islam.
Asked about Sohel, he said Sohel studied BBA at Government Titumir College and is a native of Lalmonirhat. He is an old member of Ansar al-Islam who has met sacked Major Zia in different militant dens.
While planning Avijit’s murder, Sohel tracked Avijit’s movements for days, he further added.
Police sources said 10 people took part in the killing, according to Sohel. Four of them were directly involved and four others stood as a back up team. The remaining two coordinated the whole operation.
They also said Sohel was also involved in blogger Niladri Chattarjee murder and Faisal Arefin Dipan murder.
Sohel had given some names to the police but they were organisational namesm the sources said.
In June last year, another accused of Avijit murder Shariful, later identified as Mukul Rana by his family, was killed in a ‘gunfight’ with Detective Branch of police in Khilgaon.
Avijit, son of noted physicist Ajoy Roy and founder of Mukto-Mona blog, was hacked to death, and his wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya was injured when mutiple assailants attacked them with meat cleavers near TSC on the Dhaka University Campus on February 26 in 2015. The murder took place in the middle of the ongoing Ekushey Book Fair.