The allegation of rape brought against Ahmed Shafat and Shadman Sakif appears to be true, police said yesterday after the primary interrogation of the two accused in the Banani double rape case.
“What we've got in the interrogation is that the incident seems to be true,” Krishna Pada Roy, joint commissioner (crime) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told reporters at a briefing at the DMP Media Centre.
On Thursday night, a joint team of police arrested the two accused raiding a house in Pathantula area of Sylhet city.
They were brought to Dhaka yesterday morning. Later in the day, a Dhaka court placed Shafat on six-day remand and Sakif on five-day remand after police produced them before it and sought 10-day remand for each of them.
Police are now hunting the three other accused -- Nayeem Ashraf alias Halim, Shafat's driver Billal and bodyguard Abul Kalam Azad.
Meanwhile, the two girls, who were “raped” in a posh hotel in the capital's Banani on March 28, gave judicial statements before a magistrate at her chamber on Thursday.
A Dhaka court also permitted Inspector Ismot Ara Ame, investigation officer of the case, to send a dress of one of the girls for a forensic test.
The girl handed the gown, she was wearing during the night of the incident, to police. She said she kept the dress with her, thinking it would help her get justice.
In another development, Customs Intelligence yesterday formed a two-member committee, headed by Deputy Director Shariful Hasan, to look into the sources of the wealth of Shafat's father Dilder Ahmed Selim. Dilder is one of the owners of Apan Jewellers.
The DMP also formed a three-member probe team, led by additional commissioner (crime), to investigate whether there was any negligence by Banani police in dealing the case from the beginning.
Earlier, the plaintiff had alleged that top officials of the Banani Police Station tried to brand them as “bad girls” when they went there for filing the rape case on May 4 and May 5. The police officials also allegedly tried to pressurise them into negotiating with the accused.
Police recorded the case on May 6 after dilly-dallying for around two days.
Another four-member team has been formed to assist in the investigation as the case was filed over a month after the incident. It is led by Joint Commissioner Krishna.
The team would help the investigators present the evidence before the court, Krishna said.
The other members of the team are: deputy commissioner (DC) of DB north division, DC Gulshan division and DC of Women Support and Investigation Division.
Invited to Shafat's birthday party on March 28, the two girls went to the Banani hotel around 9:00pm. After the party ended around midnight, Shafat and Nayeem raped them in two rooms, alleged the girl who filed the case. Sakif, Billal and Azad assisted the rapists, she said, adding all the five accused were drunk that time.
HOW THE TWO GOT ARRESTED
Police said Shafat contacted his uncle Masum Ahmed, who lives in Sylhet city, several times after the case was filed. The law enforcers tracked down Masum and learnt from him that Shafat and Sakif were hiding in "Rashid Manzil", a house owned by Masum's London expatriate friend Mamunur Rashid, reports our Sylhet correspondent.
Around 9:00pm on Thursday, a joint team from the police headquarters and the detectives of the DMP carried out a raid there and arrested the two accused, said Sugyan Chakma, additional superintendent (media) of Sylhet police.
The law enforcers had been keeping an eye on Shafat's relatives in Sylhet after the prime accused was spotted at a hotel in the district, said Mohammad Moniruzzaman, assistant inspector general of police headquarters.
On Monday, Shafat and four of his companions went to Regent Park Resort in Dakshin Surma upazila and inquired about room for rent. They, however, were not given any room as they refused to show the hotel authorities their national ID cards.
Later, the five left the hotel in a microbus.
Visiting “Rashid Manzil” on Thursday night, this correspondent saw that the house was almost empty. He, however, found one of the caretakers, Nur Nabi, who said Masum went there along with two unknown men on the night of May 10.
Earlier in the day, Mamun's mother went to her village home. Usually, she lives in that house alone.
Masum asked Nur and the other caretaker, Kacha Miah, to clean up one of the rooms for the “guests”. “We did that without asking him anything as he is a close friend of the house owner.”
He said, “The two men stayed inside throughout the next day and later that night, police raided the house and arrested them.”
Talking to this correspondent last night, DC Shaikh Nazmul Alam of DB (north division), said all the accused, except Nayeem, fled to Gazipur together after the case was filed with Banani Police Station.
Later, they somehow went to Narsingdi and then to Sylhet, where they changed their position frequently, he said, based on the primary interrogation of Shafat and Sakif.
After being denied the hotel room on Monday, driver Billal and bodyguard Azad got separated from the others. The two arrestees then moved in to “Rashid Manzil”, he said.
It was not clear where Billal, Azad and Nayeem were staying and who was that other person among five who went to that hotel.
In the briefing, Joint Commissioner Krishna said the three other accused would be arrested soon as several police teams were continuing their raids.
Asked whether the delay in filing the case might hamper the investigation, the police official said, “We are trying so that the evidence is not damaged and investigation is not hampered.”
“We are trying to collect circumstantial, physical and oral evidence to prove the incident,” he said, adding they already collected “sufficient evidence” in this regard.
The investigation team was working professionally. There is no scope for misunderstanding police over the incident, he added.
Krishna said they were also trying to find out whether anyone other than the five accused had a hand in the incident.
Replying to a query, he said police found no firearms from the arrestees. According to the girl who filed the case, they were raped at gunpoint.
CUSTOMS TO INVESTIGATE WEALTH OF SHAFAT'S FATHER
Moinul Khan, director general of Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate, told The Daily Star they issued a letter to Bangladesh Bank, seeking information of the bank accounts of Shafat's father Dilder Ahmed.
“It was learnt that Dilder Ahmed earned a huge amount of money through gold business. But in the last five years, no gold was imported into the country through proper channels. So, we want to know how he made the money,” he said.