Published: 2014-01-30 12:59:31 BdST
The court on Thursday also awarded life sentences to all these 14 in the second case filed under the Arms Act.
The others who got death and life in the two cases are- former Industries Secretary Nurul Amin, former NSI field officer Akbar Hossain Khan, former NSI Director (Security) Wing Commander (rtd) Shahabuddin, former NSI Director General (DG) Brigadier General (rtd) Md Abdur Rahim, former NSI DG Major General (rtd) Rezzakul Haider Chowdhury, former NSI Deputy Director (Technical) Major (rtd) Liakat Hossain, former Managing Director of CUFL Mohsin Uddin Talukder and General Manager (administration) KM Enamul Haq.
Smugglers Hafizur Rahman, Deen Mohammad and their accomplice Haji Md Abdus Sobhan were also given death penalty in the case filed under Special Power Act for smuggling of arms.
Of them, Amin and Barua are absconding.
Haji Md Abdus Sobhan was brought to the court for the verdict and later the police took him to jail. He was out on bail.
The 14 have been fined Tk 500,000 subject to approval of the High Court.
All of them were also given life in prison in the second case filed under the Arms Act.
The court also awarded the 14 rigorous imprisonments for seven years under the Section 19 (f) of the Arms Act.
Both prison sentences will be carried out simultaneously, said the verdict pronounced by Chittagong Metropolitan Sessions Judge and Special Tribunal-1 judge SM Mojibur Rahman at 12:30pm in a courtroom packed with lawyers, journalists and observers.
However, the time they have already spent in jail would be deducted from the prison sentences.
The other 38 accused on both cases were acquitted.
The convicts would be able to appeal in the High Court against the verdict.
In his immediate reaction, Law Minister Anisul Haque said that the verdict has reflected the Awami League government’s pledge to establish rule of law.
This verdict would make those who have the tendency to commit crime think again before doing so, he told reporters.
“This smuggling of huge cache of arms was a crime committed with collaboration from the then BNP-Jamaat led coalition government. This was done to fuel terrorism.”
Asked whether the BNP-Jamaat government should be commended for the seizure of arms when they were in power, Haque said, “We know very well how these were seized. These weapons would have been used to build a mini-cantonment.”
Police had seized 10 trucks of weapons and ammunition from the state-owned Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Ltd (CUFL) jetty on the banks of Karnafuli River in Chittagong’s Anowara while being offloaded from two fishing trawlers in the early hours of April 2, 2004. Around 1,500 boxes containing submachine guns, AK-47 assault rifles, submachine carbines, Chinese pistols, rocket shells and launchers, hand grenades and bullets were seized.
Later that day, Karnafuli Police Station’s (at that time) OC Ahadur Rahman filed the two separate cases.
The verdict on the cases came on Thursday, nearly 10 years after the seizure of the huge cache of arms that took the nation by surprise and had caused a furore.
Investigations revealed 10 truckloads of arms and ammunition had been manufactured in China and they were shipped for the Indian separatists, ULFA.