Police pressed charges against eight people over the attack
Police have dropped Hasnat Karim from the charge sheet of the Holey Artisan attack case after investigators failed to find any conclusive evidence of his involvement in the deadliest militant attack in the country’s history.
The former teacher of North South University was arrested one month after surviving the July 1, 2016 atrocity, which left 22 people dead.
However, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit chief Monirul Islam told reporters on Monday that Hasnat was only mentioned in the first information report since he was among the 17 people who had been rescued alive from the upmarket eatery.
"As the arrestees and the witnesses were not able to give adequate information over his involvement in the massacre, we chose to drop his name from the charge sheet,"
said Monirul, who is also an additional commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Conspiracy theories of Hasnat’s involvement in the gruesome attack spread like wildfire after pictures surfaced on social media of him with the attackers, with his casual body language casting a lot of doubts.
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Defending her husband, Sharmina Parveen, who was also among the rescued 17, told different news outlets at the time that Hasnat was just following the instructions of his captors to keep her and their children safe during that dire situation.
When asked whether the investigators were able to explain the pictures further, Monirul only said: "We have analyzed those pictures. We have submitted our findings to the court.”
Monirul also said the investigators did not find any evidence of involvement of the café’s pizza chef, Saiful Chowkidar, who was killed during the attack, or Zakir Hossain Shaon, who was detained as a suspect and later died of wounds at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Police have pressed charges against eight people in the case. Six of them are behind bars, while the two others are fugitive.
The names of a further 13 people suspected of involvement in the Holey Artisan attack have been wiped from the charge sheet as the suspects have all been killed in various drives conducted by different law enforcement agencies.
Last year, the court acquitted another suspect, Tahmid Hasib Khan, as the prosecution failed to produce specific evidence to prove him guilty in the case.
Tahmid was arrested on August 3, 2016 on suspicion of having links to the attackers.