The convict Iqbal Hossain in the August 21 grenade attack case directly took part in the attack and hurled the grenade at the stage.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) finally arrested Iqbal, a member of Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, from Diabari area in the capital, 17 years after the terrible attack.
The militant remained fugitive after being sentenced to life term imprisonment in the case.
Rab director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun disclosed the information at a media briefing at the elite force's Karwan Bazar media centre on Tuesday.
He said Iqbal fled to Malaysia in 2008 to avoid arrest. He was deported to Bangladesh in 2020 after being identified there as an illegal immigrant. After returning to the country, he was trying to communicate with like-minded militants, he added.
Abdullah Al-Mamun said, "Iqbal changed his name at first to Selim, and later to Jahangir, and tried to avoid being identified by lawmakers in disguise of rickshaw puller, construction worker and day labourer during this period."
"Finally National Security Intelligence (NSI) succeeded tracing him and passed the information to Rab. Intelligence unit of the elite force then conducted a drive at Diabari area and arrested the fugitive at last at the wee hours of Tuesday," the RAB DG said.
Who is Iqbal?
Rab DG said, "Iqbal completed Higher Secondary Certificate. He was involved with Jatiotabadi Chatra Dal during his college life. He was elected class representative in the student parliament of Jhenaidah's KC College from Chhatra Dal. He was an expatriate worker in Malaysia from 1995 to 1996. Coming back to the country, Iqbal started ISD phone and other business. At this time, he got involved in quarrels with local influential people. In 2001, he joined Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh (Hujib) through a local militant member in Jhenaidah.
RAB DG said Islamic militant outfit Huji attacked a, AL rally on 21 August, 2004, to kill Sheikh Hasina. But Allah saved her; though 24 peoples including Ivy Rahman, AL's then Women's Affairs secretary, were killed in the deadly grenade attack.
Meanwhile, the trial of the grenade attack case completed. The court heard statements of 225 eyewitnesses in a long trial of eight years. After the hearing, the verdict was announced on 10 October, 2018.
In 2005, Rab arrested militant leader Mufti Hannan and his brother Muhibullah alias Mofiz alias Avi. Besides, RAB has so far arrested 15 accused in connection with the case, and recovered 16 RGS grenades in 2008.
The Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-1 on 10 October, 2018 sentenced 19 persons – including former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar, former deputy education minister Abdus Salam Pintu and two top intelligence officials – to death for the deadliest political killings of the country's history.
Among those sentenced to death were 14 members of the militant group Harkatul Jihad (Huji-B). Besides, 19 people including BNP Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman were given life imprisonment and 11 others were given imprisonment and fine for different terms.
Islamic militant outfit Huji carried out the grenade attack on an Awami League rally in Dhaka, killing 24 people and injuring 300 more on 21 August 2004. Sheikh Hasina narrowly escaped the assassination attempt.