Around 800 to be charged with BDR carnage
CID to submit charge sheet soon; first mutiny trial in Pilkhana starts today
Criminal Investigation Department is all set to submit a charge sheet in the BDR carnage case, accusing around 800 border guards of murder, looting, arson and hiding bodies in mass graves.
Investigators are now busy re-examining their findings, relevant documents and evidence on February 25-26 bloodbath that left 74 people including 57 army officers killed at the BDR Pilkhana headquarters last year.
They are looking to press charges by Thursday, the first anniversary of the killings, said a CID official who would not go on record talking about internal matters.
“We are working to turn in the investigation report, if possible, on February 25,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.
Contacted last night, Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder said, “The investigation is almost complete. The charge sheet will be submitted very soon.”
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Rifles today begins trying those accused of mutiny at Pilkhana. This would be the first in a series of mutiny trials to be held in the capital.
Special Court-5, a three-member tribunal headed by BDR chief Major General Md Mainul Islam, will sit at noon in Pilkhana Darbar Hall, where the 33-hour mayhem had set in.
Trials of the mutiny that spread to battalions elsewhere in the country are being held under two different laws.
BDR has been conducting trials of the accused mutineers under its own act.
The trial of the killing case filed with the New Market Police Station will be held in a civil court under the penal code.
The charge sheet in the carnage case will be of around 7,000 pages. It will have lists of some 75 places of occurrence and around 8,000 witnesses, said sources close to the investigation led by CID’s Abdul Kahar Akand, a special superintendent of police.
The number of accused will be the highest in the history of the country’s criminal cases. There is no instance of several hundred people being charged in one single case, they added.
An investigator said 700 to 800 BDR troops would be charged on several offences that include “murder, attempt to murder, wilfully causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, holding officers and their families hostage, looting the armoury and using firearms without authority, theft, extortion, robbery, destroying evidence of murders by hiding bodies and staging explosions”.
Moreover, intimidation, conspiracy and abetment in murder and other offences, terrorising people by indiscriminate shooting, and destruction of public properties had been considered in the investigation.
Some sources say the probe could not piece together the conspiracy and motives behind the mutiny.
Around 8,000 BDR men were present at Pilkhana on February 25-26. So far, 2,163 of them have been arrested in connection with the carnage.
The CID has also arrested 32 civilians including former BNP lawmaker Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, ward Awami League leader Torab Ali and ward BNP leader Suraiya Begum.
Of those detained, 2,168 were placed on remand of various lengths, and 522 of them gave confessional statements under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Nine others gave deposition to magistrates as witnesses.
Later, 225 BDR soldiers appealed to courts for retraction of their confessional statements.
Besides Nasiruddin Pintu, Jamaat leader Abdur Razzak and ruling AL lawmaker Fazle Noor Taposh were interrogated during the course of the investigation.