A militant sentenced to death for the 2016 Dhaka café attack has said he took the cap with the Islamic State’s insignia from an “unknown” man at the court premises on the verdict day.
Rakibul Hasan Regan, 20, was produced in the anti-terrorism tribunal on Tuesday for the hearing of another case over a raid on a terrorist hideout in the capital’s Kalayanpur around a month after the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery.
The Bagura native was caught alive while his 11 associates were killed in the raid, reports bdnews24.com.
The charges against him in the café attack case included training militant recruits for killings and making transactions for operation.
Gulshan cafe attack convict Jahangir Hossain alias Rajib Gandhi was seen wearing a prayer cap with the Islamic State’s insignia inside a prison van after he and six other militants were sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism tribunal in Dhaka on Wednesday.
Judge Md Mojibur Rahman, who sentenced him to death on Nov 27 for the killings of 22 people including 17 foreign and three Bangladeshi diners, and two police officers at the eatery on July 1, 2016, asked Regan on Tuesday where he had got the cap six days ago.
“Someone from the crowd gave it. I don’t know him,” Regan said.
He also said Jahangir Hossain alias Rajib Gandhi, another of the seven convicts, took the cap from him and wore it inside the prison van later.
“Why did you take the cap?” the judge asked.
“Because I liked it,” the militant replied.
The prison authorities said their investigation found no evidence that the cap was supplied in jail.
A committee formed by the Detective Branch of police is yet to trace the cap. A detective, requesting anonymity, said the cap was supplied in jail.
An investigator said Regan told them he had thrown it out through the window of the prison van on the way to jail.
The police personnel escorting the militants between the jail and the court appeared unfazed by the cap at the time. A police official said they were actually focussed on security only.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told reporters at the Secretariat on Tuesday that a third investigation would be launched as the DB and prison authorities came up with conflicting information.
The minister admitted that the militants involved in the Holey Artisan attack were inspired by the Islamic State’s radical ideals.
“They are always saying they believe in those ideals. But they are home-grown militants.
They wanted to get connected to the IS. I had said all these earlier,” he said.
Kamal, however, downplayed the IS-inspired cap wore by Regan on the court premises.
“There is nothing alarming about it,” he said.