Rubel was just a newborn in June last year when there was an incident of unlawful gathering and theft in his Mirpur neighbourhood.
But on February 27 this year, Mirpur police, after an eight-month-long probe, saw it fit to charge Rubel with vandalising a house, and stealing Tk 25,000, two gold chains and a mobile phone.
Rubel is now 11 months old.
As if this was not absurd enough, Sub-Inspector Maruful Islam, investigation officer in the case, also pressed charges against a dead person.
Arifur Rahman had died three years prior to the incident and he was named in the charge sheet along with 21 others.
The police in the charge sheet even said Rubel and Arifur were on the run and appealed to the court to issue arrest warrants and an order for confiscating their properties.
The actions of Mirpur police came to light after Rubel's father Abul Kashem, also an accused in the case, took the infant with him to court on April 30 and explained to it what was going on.
Astonished by Kashem's statement, the court ordered the IO to appear before it and explain why and how he included Rubel and Arifur in the charge sheet.
The IO was supposed to show up before the court yesterday and explain but he submitted a 10-day time petition instead claiming to be sick.
Metropolitan magistrate Khurshid Alam yesterday ordered him to appear before his court on May 16.
Rubel's mother Shamima Akter yesterday took him to the court for the hearing. The child started crying when journalists encircled her asking questions.
Shamima demanded exemplary punishment of the IO.
“We have been sufferings as we have to bring my 11-month-old son to the court for appearance before it,” she told reporters.
Arifur's father Mahbub Ullah was stunned that his dead son was accused of a “crime” committed three years after his death.
He said Arifur used to run a cosmetics shop in the area and he had died of a stroke on July 31, 2013, at the age of 27.
“I was in the US for 24 years and had no enmity with anyone … I had asked the complainant why he accused my dead son of committing the crime,” he told The Daily Star.
Mahbub said his wife and a son-in-law were also accused in the case.
Habibur Rahman, complainant of the case, told The Daily Star that Arifur's name was on the First Information Report (FIR) as “he tried to grab my land making a fake document in 2011”.
“Arifur, along with a number of goons in the area, were trying to take possession of around 28 decimal land of mine in Pirerbag of Mirpur. So, I accused him. I was not aware that he had died,” Habibur said.
On why he accused a baby boy, Habib said he accused one Rubel in the FIR but he was 30 years old.
He claimed that Rubel's father Abul Kashem was one of the attackers, hired by some locals who had long been trying to grab his land making fake documents and filing “false” cases against him.
“I did not know many of the attackers. Some policemen, their informants, and locals identified the criminals and as per their suggestions, I accused them in the FIR,” said Habib.
“It is the duty of the police to verify who were involved in the attack and vandalism.
“The investigation officer did not even communicate with me before pressing the charges,” he said.
The Daily Star called IO Maruful Islam over the phone and asked how a dead person and a then newborn ended up on the charge sheet.
Maruful declined to talk saying he had undergone surgery at the Central Police Hospital.
Nazrul Islam, officer-in-charge of Mirpur Police Station, told The Daily Star that there was no doubt that Maruful mistakenly included the names in the charge sheet.
Masudur Rahman, Deputy Commissioner (media and publication) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star that they have suspended the IO over the incident.
In a similar incident on March 20, 2007, SI Ruhul Amin, the IO of an extortion case, pressed charges against a man who died six years prior to the incident. A Dhaka court even issued an arrest warrant for the deceased man.