Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Dhaka teacher Kaberi murderer ‘was arrested in Kolkata as militant’

  • Liton Haider, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-10-19 04:05:20 BdST

Zahirul Islam Palash, the sole convict in the 2015 killing of college teacher Krishna Kaberi in Dhaka, is a member of the militant group Neo-Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh with the alias “Mamuner Rashid”, police say.

After joining the Islamist group, he had travelled to India and is in jail there now following his arrest in Kolkata four months ago, Bangladesh Police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit says.  

A Dhaka court in January this year sentenced Zahirul, a former manager with a securities firm, to death for the murder of the teacher of Mission International College at Mohammadpur.

He had already fled after jumping bail from the High Court.

Police’s CTTC unit Deputy Commissioner Saiful Islam said they received the new information about Zahirul alis Mamun during interrogation of three Chanpainawabganj militant suspects arrested in the capital’s Gabtoli Bus Terminal on Wednesday.

Hailing from Rajshahi’s Boalia, Zahirul lived in Dhaka’s Pallabi with his wife and two children. He was a manager at Hajji Ahmed Brothers Securities at Gulshan.

Krishna’s husband Shitangshu Shekhar Biswas, a BRTA engineer, had opened an account to trade in shares through the securities firm where Zahirul had worked.

Shitangshu invested Tk 800,000 in the stock market and Zahirul murdered his wife in a bid to kill the engineer with an aim to embezzle the money, according to police.

Zahirul drugged Shitangshu and started to hit him with a hammer while celebrating Shitangshu’s birthday on Mar 30, 2015, police said.

Krishna’s saree caught fire from the candles on the cake when she tried to save her husband. She was severely burnt and died later.

On June 24 this year, police in India arrested four militant suspects, reportedly including three Bangladeshis with one Mamuner Rashid among them, in Kolkata.

“This Mamun is the convict in Dhaka’s Krishna Kaberi murder case,” CTTC’s Saiful told bdnews24.com.

“We had been receiving information about his involvement with Neo-JMB before his arrest,” he added.

Zahirul joined the militant group through Shafiqul Islam alias Mollaji and Mostafa Mohsin Arif before travelling to India with them, according to Saiful.

Mollaji and Arif were among the three arrested at Gabtoli.

They had been members of the JMB but later joined the group’s revived faction Neo-JMB after it carried out the July 1, 2016 attack on a café in Dhaka’s Gulshan, according to police.

They joined the new group through Soheil Mahfuz, a “militant leader” who is behind bars now on charges of supplying bombs used in the Gulshan attack, Saiful said.

Zahirul, Mollaji and Arif had received “militancy training” in India as well, he said.

“A section of the militant group hides in India sometimes due to the crackdown here. They try to conduct activities against the state in Bangladesh whenever they get the opportunity to return,” the police officer said.

Mollaji and Arif had also led “Neo-JMB members” Shahin Alam, Ziaur Rahman, ‘Arif’, ‘Kabir’, ‘Harun’ and some others into their den in India and arranged their training in different states of the country, including Jharkhand and Kerala, Saiful said.

Asked if police were working for deportation of Zahirul, the officer said they will have to wait until the trial of the militant suspect ends in India.

Police are questioning Mollaji and Arif in custody to tease out further information, he said.