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News updated at 1:18 AM IST

Dhaka court indicts ex-premier's son for 2004 grenade attack

Dhaka, Mar 18 2012, (PTI): 18:54 IST
Former Prime minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia's "fugitive" elder son and 29 others were today indicted by a special Bangladeshi tribunal over a 2004 grenade attack on current premier Sheikh Hasina's rally that killed 24 people and injured her.

"Charges were framed as the allegations against them were proved primarily," judge Shahed Nuruddin of Dhaka's Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 pronounced, also indicting ex-junior minister for home Lutfuzzaman Babar besides Zia's son--Tarique Rahman-- and 28 others, formally launching the trial of the case.

The judge set March 28 for hearing the witnesses' testimony as several senior police and army intelligence officials were also found involved in the attack, said to be carried out by banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) operatives.

The charges carry death penalty.

Awami League chief, Hasina, had narrowly escaped the attack that crippled 200 party supporters while the dead included party's women front chief and President Zillur Rahman's wife Ivy Rahman.

However, Hasina suffered injuries to one of her ears causing permanent disability. She even undertook treatment for the same abroad.

Tarique, also the senior vice president of Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was accused of masterminding the attack along with several party stalwarts and leaders of their fundamentalist ally Jamaat-e-Islami.

Under the court order, Tarique and 19 others are being tried in absentia as they "failed" to appear.

They have been declared as "absconding".

Tarique is also an accused in several other criminal and graft cases pending for trial but is now in London on an earlier granted government parole for treatment since 2008 though the parole was subsequently scrapped.

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