Police play dubious role
Police are playing a dubious role in taking legal actions against Fareez Rahman, a former Awami League lawmaker's nephew whose reckless driving left four people injured in the capital's Gulshan on Monday.
Though a police officer, who had visited the scene immediately after the accident, earlier told this paper that 16-year-old Fareez Rahman didn't have a driving licence and they had found evidence of drunk driving, the officer-in-charge (OC) of Gulshan Police Station yesterday denied it.
"We haven't found any such evidence," claimed OC Sirajul Islam.
Asked why they were not taking actions against Fareez, he said police could not press charges until the victims or their families file any complaint.
The OC also claimed to this paper that the injured had given the police written statements that they would not press charges.
However, the family of one of the victims refuted the claim.
"We haven't given any such statement," said Shapla Begum, wife of Rafiqul Islam, one of the injured.
Families of the other victims could not be reached for comments.
A legal expert, meanwhile, contradicted what OC Sirajul said to defend police inaction.
"A case must be filed if a person with no driving licence drives a car and injures people by committing an accident," said Supreme Court lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan.
"Even if the victims cannot file a case, police can do it on their own."
Though the case could be filed under section 304 (b) of the Penal Code, Fareez would be tried at the Juvenile Court under the Children Act since he was under 18, he said.
If found guilty, the teenage boy may face maximum three years' imprisonment or fine or both, said the lawyer, also editor of Dhaka Law Report.
Fareez rammed the sports utility vehicle he was driving into two rickshaws on Monday afternoon. Two rickshaw pullers, a passenger and a pedestrian were injured in the incident.
Shapla Begum also rejected the claim of a police official on Tuesday that the injured had cut a deal with Fareez's family.
"My husband is critically hurt. My immediate concern is to see him alive. There is no question of reaching any sort of understanding with anyone at this stage," she told The Daily Star over the phone last night.
She would "think" about lodging complaints against Fareez once her husband was out of danger, she added.
Lawyer Khurshid Alam thinks there's no scope for any deal between the victims and the offender "as it is not a compoundable offence."
"It is the duty of the police to arrest him," he said.
A friend of Fareez, meanwhile, told this paper that Fareez was filming himself on his phone while driving the SUV and sending selfies to his friends through photo-messaging app Snapchat.
The friend, who wished anonymity, also provided this paper with what he claims are the copies of some of the photos. The Daily Star, however, could not independently verify their authenticity.