A top leader of banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh has secured bail in a militancy case using a fictitious guarantor in the bail bond.
But Bulbul Ahmed Sarker, who according to police was the second-in-command of Chittagong JMB, could not come out of jail as he faces seven more cases, including for murder and possession of arms and explosives.
The Metropolitan Sessions Judge of Chittagong granted him bail on November 18 last year in a case filed in 2012.
Police arrested him based on information gleaned from another suspected JMB operative named Ershad Hossain Mamun. Mamun, who was arrested with bomb-making materials, told a court that Bulbul was the second top leader of Chittagong JMB, police said.
In the bail bond, the guarantor is named Md Jamal, son of late Akhtar Hossain of Tulshipara village in Gaibandha. But police later found there is no such person at that address, according to the police investigation report submitted to a Chittagong court.
The Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI), Chittagong Metro, came to know about it during verification of the guarantor's name and address.
The PBI started the investigation after a Chittagong court ordered it to probe the case further.
“Akhtar Hossain has no son named Jalal,” PBI chief Banaj Kumar Majumder told The Daily Star recently.
Banaj, also a deputy inspector general, suspects the JMB provided the money to arrange the bail for Bulbul, who filed a bail petition with the High Court.
Bulbul's family has no means to spend such money, he added.
On October 18 last year, a High Court bench granted ad-interim bail to Bulbul and another suspect, Mahbubul alias Khokon. The copy of the order was released on November 5.
Mahbubul is a maternal uncle of Bulbul's wife. Jamal, a driver, is Mahbubul's brother. Jamal is also the guarantor of his brother.
In fact, Akhtar Hossain is the father of accused Bulbul, and not of Jamal the guarantor as claimed in the bail bond.
Also known within the JMB as Mehedi and Rocky, Bulbul has been in Chittagong Central Jail since he was arrested with five other JMB militants on October 5, 2015, from Chittagong.
The arrestees also include Towfiqul Islam Javed, 22, head of the explosive wing of JMB, according to police.
Police also recovered nine handmade grenades, arms, ammunition and bomb-making materials.
The day after his arrest, Javed was killed “in a grenade explosion” during a drive in the port city while in the custody of detectives.
Police said the six were involved in the September 2015 mugging of Satya Gopal, manager of Shah Corporation, at Majhirghat area of Chittagong.
During the mugging, the JMB men detonated several grenades, killing two JMB men and critically injuring Satya. He later died at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, according to police.
An official said Bulbul had even sent notes from the prison, asking fellow militants to attack law enforcers when they would be on leave.
One such chit was later recovered from the Gaibandha home of Rajiv Gandhi, an alleged planner of the Holey Artisan Bakery attack in July 2016 in the capital, the official added.
Md Moyeenuddin, additional superintendent of PBI Chittagong Metro, said they grew suspicious when they found the guarantor of the two accused, Bulbul and Mahbubul, was the same person, Jamal. But his father's name was different -- Akhtar Hossain in one bail papers and Abdul Gani in another.
The addresses were also different, one in Gaibandha and the other in Chittagong.
“We then checked the addresses. We found that the Jamal who signed on the bail bond of Bulbul does not exist. But the Jamal who signed on the bond of Mahbubul is his brother,” said Moyeenuddin.
He said they interrogated this Jamal, who claimed he did not sign on any bail bonds.
“Jamal told us that he did not even know anything about Mahbubul's bail,” claimed Moyeenuddin.
The PBI informed the court about its findings on March 6.
Contacted twice, Jamal gave conflicting versions. Initially, he claimed that he signed once as guarantor on the bail bond for his brother Mahbubul.
Later, he said he signed on both bail papers. “I am illiterate. So I could not spot the mistake in my father's name and in the address.”
Defence lawyer Sarwar Kamal said it was a mistake on the part of his office staff.
Mahbubul's brother Jamal signed on the bail bond for both Bulbul and Mahbubul as they are relatives. But his staffers mixed up the address and father's name by mistake, he told The Daily Star by phone.
“We corrected the error during the hearing on April 18,” he said, adding that the court accepted the correction.
Contacted yesterday, a PBI official said they were yet to get any such court order in this regard.
Talking to The Daily Star earlier, Moyeenuddin said they would go for hand writing test, if necessary.
(FM Mizanur Rahman contributed to this report.)