A Dhaka court on Monday exonerated late Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad and late Major (retd) Abdul Latif of charges over the killing of Maj Gen Abul Manzur.
Judge of the Additional District and Sessions Judge’s Court-1 of Dhaka Dilara Alo Chandana passed the order after accepting the supplementary charge-sheet submitted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police.
The court also framed charges against three other accused -- Lt Col (retd) Mostafa Kamaluddin Bhuiyan, Lt Col (retd) Shamsur Rahman Shams and Maj (retd) Kazi Emdadul Haque -- and fixed April 6 for the formal trial to begin with the deposition of witnesses.
Following further probe for almost seven years, the CID submitted the charge-sheet before the court on January 12, dropping the names of Ershad and Abdul Latif as they have already died.
Following the petition, on February 27, 2014, the court ordered further probe into the murder when the case was in the final stage of verdict.
Manzur, commander of sector-8 during the Liberation War, was killed at Chattogram Cantonment on June 1, 1981 just after two days into the murder of President Ziaur Rahman. Manzur was believed to have carried out an abortive coup in which Zia was assassinated.
On February 28, 1995, Barrister Abul Mansoor Ahmed, brother of slain Abul Manzur, lodged a case with Panchlaish Police Station in Chattogram.
On June 27, 1995, the CID submitted a charge sheet before the court against Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, ex-DGFI officer Kazi Emdadul Haque, Mostafa Kamal Uddin Bhuiyan, Abdul Latif and Shamsur Rahman Shams.
On completion of arguments from both sides, the court on January 22, 2014 fixed February 10 the same year for delivering the verdict. But later, the court asked for further probe following a petition.