Wife sues Mirpur cops - Court orders judicial probe

Bangladesh on 21 July 2014
Location : Bangladesh | Source : The Daily Star. Image Source: The Daily Star

A Dhaka court yesterday ordered a judicial enquiry into the custodial death of garment-waste trader Mahbubur Rahman Sujan after his wife filed a murder case against Sub-Inspector Jahid and OC Salahuddin of Mirpur Police Station.

Momtaz Sultana Lucy said soon after bringing Sujan, herself and their five-year-old son Rabbi to Mirpur Police Station in the early hours of July 13, SI Jahid called someone on his wireless set addressing the person as “sir”.

“I have taken the traitor … beating him. What should I do now, Sir?” Lucy quoted Jahid as saying on the wireless. “Either close [him] or make it final,” was the response from the other end.
Lucy filed the case with the Court of Metropolitan Sessions Judge in Dhaka yesterday accusing SI Jahidur Rahman Khan and nine others, including officer-in-charge of the police station Salahuddin Khan.  

The case was lodged under the Torture and Custodial Death (Protection) Act-2013. The case was the first under the act which has provisions for the death penalty, court sources said.

The complainant said around 9:00am on July 13, Jahid took her to the room of the OC where the OC told her that her husband was sick and had been admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

As she requested to see Sujan at DMCH, the OC told her to sign on a blank piece of paper before she left. “I refused to do so and the OC offered me a glass of water. After drinking it, I felt dizzy and I signed the paper,” she said in the case statement.

The OC, however, refuted the allegation, saying that he had her sign a bond as per procedure.

Lucy was notified of Sujan's death around noon. The OC had told journalists that he had been notified of Sujan's death at 5:27am that day.

Responding to the case and Lucy's case statement, the OC yesterday said those were “evil intentions to establish lies”.

Sujan's mother claimed that OC Salahuddin had tried to negotiate with the victim's family regarding the blank piece of paper.

“We tried to know what was written in that paper, but the OC refused to show us the paper,” she said, adding that she wants to see the OC brought to book.

Lucy accused Assistant Sub-Inspector Rajkumar, constables Asad and Rashedul of Mirpur Police Station and five police sources -- Mithun, Nasim Sheikh, Faisal, Khokon and Palash -- of torturing Sujan to death.

She said at their Shankar home, Jahid with the help of Rajkumar gagged Sujan with a towel, cuffed his hands and tied his legs and body with ropes.

Constables Asad and Rashedul and Mithun were with them.

They then took Sujan to the bathroom, dipped his head in the water in a bucket and beat him up with an iron rod indiscriminately, said Lucy, adding that they were forced to move to Shankar from Mirpur due to harassments by Jahid.

Jahid had been asking for a handsome amount of money over the last two years from Sujan, she added.

In the wee hours of July 13, Jahid had picked up Sujan, Lucy and Rabbi from their Shankar home. Jahid went to Sujan's house to extort money. He tortured Sujan at his house, in the police van and at Mirpur Police Station, according to Sujan's family members.

Law enforcers detained Jahid on Wednesday following an autopsy report that mentioned that Sujan had died of torture. They also detained Nasim after going through the CCTV footage at the police station.

The following day, Mirpur police filed a case against Jahid, Nasim and six others. The case was handed over to the Detective Branch of police and a court placed Jahid on a five-day remand on Friday.

DB sources said Jahid admitted to torturing Sujan in police custody and the investigators were trying to find out whether he acted alone or was following orders from any superior official/s.
DB Inspector Nibaran Chandra Barman, investigation officer of the case, said they had collected the CCTV footage from Mirpur Police Station and seized all mobile phones of the arrestees.
Jahid had been “closed” on similar grounds earlier this year. On February 10, when he was working at Pallabi Police Station, he was “closed” for his alleged involvement in the custodial death of Istiaq Ahmed Johnny, 28, a resident of Talab camp in Mirpur-11.

Sujan was an accused in an arms case with the Shah Ali Police Station.

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