A year into Hotel Olio bomb blast: Investigation yet to be complete

Police raided the hotel on the night of Aug 14 and later the counterterrorism unit and SWAT joined forces with them on the morning of Aug 15. At one point, the militant, later identified as Saiful Islam, blew himself up.

An investigation into the incident has not been completed yet.

Sub-Inspector Syed Imrul Sahed filed a case under the anti-terrorism law accusing unidentified persons. The CID had carried out a DNA test on Saiful.

According to the case documents, 13 persons have been arrested in the case, although DMP Commissioner Md Asaduzzaman Mia told journalists that the number was 14.

The counter-terrorism unit of police had interrogated almost every suspect in remand.

Six of them have confessed to the court, according to the case documents. They are Abul Kashem Fakir alias Abu, Abdullah Aichan Kabiraj alais Rafique, Tanvir Yasin Karim, Sadia Hossain, Tazrin Khanam and Nazmul Hossain Mamun.

However, Asaduzzaman told journalists on Tuesday that at least ten people have confessed.

Sadia Hosna Lucky, Md Tajul Islam alias Chhoton, Akram Hossain Khan Niloy, Tarek Mohammed alias Adnan and Lulu Sarder alias Shahid are some of the arrestees in the case.

Among the arrestees, Abu Torab Khan, father of other two accused Niloy and Tazrin and Homaira Zakir Nabila, have received bail from the High Court and Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court.

Inspector Raju Ahmed of the Counter-terrorism Unit is investigating the case which was earlier dealt with by SI Pradeep Sarker from the same department.

Investigation officer Raju Ahmed refused to speak on the investigation progress.

“Senior officials in our department may talk about the issue,” Raju told bdnews24.com referring the reporter to Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam.

bdnews24.com did not receive any comment from Monirul despite repeated attempts.

The militants prepared for suicide bombing that would kill hundreds of people, the then Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Haque had told reporters.

The bomb that went off at Hotel Olio caused a portion of the building’s fourth-floor wall and grill to collapse onto the street below. It was strong enough to cause severe damage, said police officials.

Saiful who killed himself was a student of BL College in Khulna. He used to be a member of Islami Chhatra Shibir, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, said police adding his father Abul Khair Mollah has been the treasurer of Jamaat-e-Islami’s Sahas Union wing in Khulna.

Police arrested Homaira alias Nabila from Siddeshwari in the capital on Apr 5 in relation to the bomb explosion in Hotel Olio.

Police say ‘Homaira’ alias ‘Nabila’ was the chief of the women’s wing in Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh or JMB’s revived chapter and known as the ‘Bat Woman’.

After finishing her BBA in North South University in Dhaka, Nabila got admitted to Lincoln University in Malaysia where she met Akram Hossain Niloy, the then leader of neo-JMB. Both of them initiated ‘Sister Wing,’ another branch of neo-JMB after returning to Dhaka.  

Police also arrested Nabila’s husband Tanvir Yasin Karim from Gulshan on Nov 19, five months prior to Nabila’s arrest.

Tanvir in his confession named Niloy as the mastermind and funder of the Hotel Olio terror plan, according to police officials.

Nabila has not yet confessed to her crime even after several rounds of interrogation in remand but her cousin confessed as a witness, according to case documents.

“The court has granted her bail considering her child being small,” Manik Lal Ghosh, Nabila’s lawyer, told bdnews24.com.

The defence lawyer expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in submitting the chargesheet on the case.

“Sensitive cases like this should be investigated faster so that the case is disposed of quickly,” he said.

On May 29, Investigation Officer Raju Ahmed appealed to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court to scrutinise Niloy’s mobile phones, emails and social media accounts by FBI experts, which the court had approved.

“They mentioned scrutiny by FBI but that was never done as far as I know,” Advocate Md Anwar Hossain, legal aide to Niloy, Tazrin and Abu Torab, told bdnews24.com.

“Niloy may be related to the incident but his relatives are not. Although some of them had to give statements under section 164, I have appealed to the court for the withdrawal of those statements,” said the lawyer.

The investigation report is scheduled to be submitted to the magistrate’s court on Aug 28, Assistant Police Commissioner of Crime, Information and Prosecution Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Md Farid Ahmed told bdnews24.com.

However, few schedules have been deferred earlier when the report was not submitted.


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