Former Rab official Major Arif Hossain yesterday admitted to his involvement in the sensational seven-murder incident in Narayanganj.
In a confessional statement before a court yesterday, Arif, who was dismissed from the Bangladesh Army following the incident, also named a top Rab official, saying it was under that person's directives that the murders had been committed.
“According to Major Arif's confessional statement under Section 164, we got to know that he owned up to his role in the murder. He also admitted to the involvement of two other former Rab officials, Lt Col Tareque Sayeed and Lt Commander Masud Rana. He gave hair-raising descriptions before the court of Senior Judicial Magistrate KM Mahiuddin of how and where the seven were killed,” Fazlur Rahman, additional public prosecutor, said before a Narayanganj court during a remand prayer for Lt Col Tareque.
Following the hearing, Senior Judicial Magistrate Ishtiaq Mohammad Siddiqui granted the police a further 5-day remand to interrogate the dismissed army official.
Various sources closely linked with extracting the confessional statement from Arif told our Narayanganj correspondent that Arif admitted the entire operation was carried out on the orders of a top Rab official. The sources wished to remain anonymous on grounds of professional and personal safety.
The Rab official's name is being withheld because The Daily Star could not obtain the copy of the confessional statement to cross-check it.
Arif also gave the names of eight other Rab men, ranging from officers to constables, who were linked with the gruesome murder.
However, he said the entire plan was masterminded by Nur Hossain, according to the sources.
Narayanganj city panel mayor Nazrul Islam and his four associates and senior lawyer Chandan Sarker and his driver were abducted allegedly by some members of the Rapid Action Battalion on April 27. Their bodies were found floating in the Shitalakkhya river a couple of days later.
In his statement, Arif said Chandan had videotaped the abduction of Nazrul and his men in front of Khan Saheb Osman Ali Stadium at Fatullah on Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road. So, they picked up Chandan and his driver as well and killed them along with the other five.
The sacked Rab officials are shown arrested in two murder cases filed by Nazrul's wife and the family of Chandan Sarker.
When The Daily Star asked the superintendent of Narayanganj police about Arif's confession, Khandaker Mahid Uddin avoided a direct reply and said, “Since Arif is confessing, the investigators have the responsibility to ensure that the evidence is credible”.
During Tareque's remand hearing, advocate Shakhawat Hossain, president of Narayanganj Lawyers' Association and counsel for the investigators, stated, “All the allegations we have made so far have been proved true through Arif's confession”.
These Rab officials were acting as hired assassins, he argued.
Despite Arif's confession, none of the progress reports submitted to the High Court by four agencies probing the incident case mentions the former Rab officials' involvement in the abductions and murders.
“I have read out the important portions of four progress reports on the investigations into the incidents before the High Court, but I have not found any mention that any Rab official is involved in the incidents,” Attorney General (AG) Mahbubey Alam said this at a press briefing at his office yesterday.
Earlier, he submitted before the HC the reports prepared by the inspector general of police (IGP), the director general (DG) of the Rab, the Criminal Investigation Department of police and the seven-member committee headed by an additional secretary of the public administration ministry.
After accepting the reports, the HC bench of Justice Md Rezaul Haque and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore directed the probe committees to submit reports on further progress before it on July 9.
Citing from the CID report, the AG told the HC that the CID officials have recorded statements from two witnesses in connection with the alleged involvement of the Rab officials in the incidents, and they are now scrutinizing their statements.
The CID also said in its report that 13 persons, including three former Rab officials, have been detained and are being interrogated in connection with the incident.
The Rab DG said 56 Rab and police personnel have been interrogated to find out whether they had any negligence in discharging their duties or any link with the incident.
The report of the IGP said the members of the victims' families are being given full-time police protection, and the investigation officer of the case is continuing investigation into the incident.
The seven-member committee said in its report that the committee members are recording statements from the witnesses of the incidents.
Meanwhile, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday said, “There has been progress in the investigation of the Narayanganj seven-murder incident. You will soon get to know who did it. The culprits will not be able to get away.”
He was speaking at a programme at Narsingdi police lines.