In an apparent bid to back the home minister's December 11 claim of arrests in Biswajit murder case, police detained 14 persons. Ten were released hours after, but the rest are still languishing in prison despite having no criminal records.
Two days after the killing of Biswajit by a group of Chhatra League goons on December 9, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir announced the â€œarrest of eight personsâ€ in the much-talked-about case.
But no law enforcement agency confirmed a single arrest.
Police sources say his statement was based on a briefing by Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Wari division. Some high officials pointed out the mistake as the claim popped up in the media.
But the Kotwali police made the wrongful arrest on December 11, sources say. The 10 were released the same day after their relatives and friends contacted law enforcers.
But the ill-fated four -- Mamun-ur Rashid, Faruk Hossain, Nahiduzzaman Tuhin and Mosleuddin Muslim -- were shown arrested and produced before a court.
Mamun and his friend Faruk were picked up in the Old Dhaka court area as they came out of a lawyer's office. They had gone there in the morning to file a bail petition for a relative of Mamun, his cousin Obaidul Haq said.
Residents of Dakshinkhan, the two are cloth traders in Uttara and both are innocent, he said, adding the family came to know about the arrest from Kotwali police the next day.
Faruk's elder brother Shakhawat Hossain Dulal said, â€œI went to the police station and Dhaka Central Jail to know his whereabouts, but I failed. I came to know the next evening that my brother was is in jail.â€
Mosleuddin, 40, works at an electrical goods shop at the capital's Maddha Badda, where he lives with his wife and two children. He went to Old Dhaka to buy goods for his shop.
Until yesterday, Muslim's family didn't know that he was shown arrested in the murder case, said his brother-in-law Farhad Uddin.
The lawyer, representing Muslim, told them that the case was very complicated and he was not sure when bail will be granted.
However, Muslim's wife has already borrowed and spent Tk 30,000 for his release.
Police have gone through the records of the arrestees but no allegation was found.
Details of Tuhin's identities and arrest could not be known. Kotwali police said they did not find his link to Bishwajit murder.
â€œWe did pick up some people in the court area on December 11 on suspicion. But they were not shown arrested,â€ Officer-in-Charge of Kotwali Police Station AB Siddique told The Daily Star yesterday.
â€œDuring interrogation, the four claimed that they were not present on the spot at the time of the occurrence,â€ said the OC.
But the same day, Sub-Inspector of Sutrapur police Mahbub Alam, investigation officer of the murder case, came to the Kotwali Police Station, talked to the four and shown them arrested.
Siddique said the police on December 12 produced them before a metropolitan magistrate's court under Section 54 of CrPC and the court ordered sending them to jail.
The four were in Dhaka Central Jail as of last night, he added.
Contacted over phone, Mahbub claimed they were arrested as they â€œbehaved suspiciouslyâ€.
â€œFrom video footage of the killing, we have identified 21 persons whom we will ask about the four. We will then decide whether to interrogate the arrested,â€ he said.
The IO declined to answer farther questions.