Three Rab officials have been dismissed from the services for their alleged involvement in the abduction and killing of seven people, including Narayanganj panel mayor Nazrul Islam, according to sources.
They are Commanding Officer of Rab-11 Lt Col Tareque Sayeed Mohammad, Maj Arif Hossain and Lt Commander SM Masud Rana.
Officials at the Armed Forces Division told The Daily Star yesterday that they were yet to receive any order on the officers' dismissal, but confirmed that the trio have been suspended from the army and the navy. They are now being interrogated.
Another source said a military court of enquiry was probing their alleged involvement in the abductions and killings. If found guilty, they will face court martial.
At a weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, the prime minister firmly said the culprits would be punished no matter how influential they might be.
“The government will show zero tolerance for the culprits and this is the prime minister's firm stance,” said a government source.
Lt Col Tareque is a close relative of an influential minister.
Two days after the abductions in Narayanganj, the home ministry withdrew the commanding officer of Rab-11 and three police officials. Later, two more Rab officials were withdrawn.
As allegations against some Rab officials came to light through the media, the armed forces pulled back the trio from the elite force, Mukhlesur Rahman, director general of Rapid Action Battalion, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Different government agencies have been investigating the abductions and killings, he said.
“If any Rab official is found guilty, he will be punished in line with the laws of the country,” he said, referring to the sacking and arrest of Lt Col Zulfiqar Ali Majumder, ex-commanding officer of Rab-7, over his involvement in the Tk 2.07 crore robbery at Talsara Darbar Sharif in Chittagong in May 2012.
Speaking at a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the home ministry, the Rab chief yesterday said if any Rab officer is found involved in the brutal killings, the elite force will not try to protect him.
Coming out of the meeting, committee Chief Tipu Munshi said they were gravely concerned over the incident in Narayanganj, and the government would do everything to bring the culprits to book.
On May 4, Nazrul's father-in-law Shahidul Islam alleged that some Rab men had abducted and murdered the Narayanganj city councillor in exchange for Tk 6 crore. He claimed that some workers saw Rab men abduct Nazrul near Shibu Market in Narayanganj on April 27.
Nazrul and his four aides, senior lawyer Chandan Sarker and his driver were abducted almost at the same time after they left the court area by two cars in Narayanganj.
Six bodies, including that of Nazrul and Chandan, were found floating in the Shitalakkhya river three days later, and another was found the following day.
WATCH ON MINISTER'S SON
A minister's son, who faces allegations of involvement in the Narayanganj incident, has been kept under surveillance by intelligence agencies, said sources.
The government will take action if he is found guilty, they added.
On Monday, Nazrul's father-in-law alleged that a son of a powerful minister brokered the deal with some Rab men to kill Nazrul.
The minister's son acted on behalf of Narayanganj ward-4 Councillor Nur Hossain, the prime accused in the Nazrul murder case, he claimed.