Moinul Hasan Shamim, a leader of Ansarullah Bangla Team, made the admission following his Tuesday night arrest from near Tongi’s Cherag Ali Market, said DMP’s Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit chief Monirul Islam.
Shamim – who also uses the aliases Sifat, Samir and Imran – was captured based on information from another detainee named Shihab alias Sumon, Additional Commissioner Monirul told a press conference yesterday.
On October 31, Dipan – who was friends with Avijit and had published one of his books – was hacked to death inside his office at Dhaka’s Aziz Super Market.
Shamim, 24, was the person in charge – also known by militants as “Masul” – of the five-member sleeper cell that killed Dipan. He actively participated in the attack, the CTTC chief said.
During primary interrogation, Shamim admitted that he had met Zia – sacked as an army major for his involvement in a failed coup in December, 2011 – a couple of times, and that Zia had given the team motivational speeches on the necessities of waging an armed jihad.
On August 13, investigators named Zia as the mastermind behind the recent blogger murders. Ansarullah, now working under the name of Ansar al-Islam, is believed to be representing al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) which is behind 13 attacks since 2013.
Shamim also trained the sleeper cell in a rented house in Tongi, before moving to a separate rented house in Mohakhali for final preparation of the murder.
A former student of Sylhet’s Madan Mohan College, Shamim was also involved in the 2014 murder of Morshed Babu in Savar, and had a case has against him in Chhatak of Sunamganj, Monirul said.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday placed Shamim on a six-day remand in Dipan murder case.