The High Court yesterday observed that a statement from Barguna SP on Minni’s involvement in her husband’s murder does not sufficiently corroborate the case docket (CD) of the investigation officer.
“She [Minni] may or may not be involved in the incident, but we are not finding sufficient corroboration between the statement given by the SP at a press conference and the statement recorded by the IO in the CD,” the court said.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman made the observation while hearing a petition filed by Aysha Siddika Minni seeking bail in the Rifat Sharif murder case.
After concluding the hearing, the HC bench fixed today for delivering the verdict on the petition.
Speaking at a press conference in his office on July 18, SP Maruf Hossain said they arrested Minni as they found her link with the murder.
The court did not disclose the statement recorded in the CD.
During yesterday’s hearing, Deputy Attorney General Sarwar Hossain Bappi replied to the HC observation, claiming that the SP did not talk about Minni’s involvement at the first place. The SP replied to queries from journalists (at the press conference), he said.
Justice Enayetur Rahim said the journalists reportedly asked the SP whether Minni had confessed to her guilt or not, and he (the SP) replied in the positive.
DAG Sarwar said the SP had replied to queries from the journalists regarding the murder case, a sensational one, and that the SP discharged his duty accordingly.
Justice Enayetur Rahim said, “The higher position they hold, the more responsibility they have. So they have to remain aware [of matters] adequately”.
Minni’s lawyer ZI Khan Panna prayed to the court for granting bail to the 19-year-old.
“She lost her husband. I can assure that she will not leave the country and will not obstruct the course of the investigation if granted bail. Therefore, I am praying for her bail,” the lawyer said.
DAG Sarwar opposed the bail petition saying Minni had spoken to Nayan Bond, the main accused in the case, over phone at least eight times before and five times after the killing.
Minni had a relationship with Nayan and was involved in the planning of the murder. Therefore, she may not be granted bail at this stage of the case, the DAG said.
Minni’s lawyer replied that Nayan had reportedly spoken to Barguna Police Station’s Sub-inspector Asaduzzaman 77 times before the murder.
As amicus curiae, senior lawyer and criminal law expert Munsurul Hoque Chowdhury placed his opinion before the court, saying that there were sufficient grounds to grant Minni bail.
“The investigation officer has informed the court that the investigation of the case is in its final stage. If she [Minni] is granted bail it will not be an intervention in the investigation … granting bail is the discretion of the court,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Humayun Kabir, the IO of the case, appeared before the HC bench along with the case docket as per its August 20 order.
The court asked the IO whether the police could arrest Nayan in the case. He replied in the negative.
Nayan was killed in a “gunfight” as he and his accomplices attacked law enforcers when they went to arrest him, the IO said.
Rifat Sharif, 25, an internet service provider, was hacked to death in broad daylight in front of Minni’s college in Barguna town on June 26.
In the CCTV footage of the incident, Minni was seen screaming and trying to save her husband from the attackers.
Rifat’s father filed the murder case with Barguna Sadar Police Station against 12 people on the day of the incident. The prime accused in the case, Nayan Bond, was killed in a “gunfight” with police on July 2.
Police arrested Minni after a daylong interrogation on July 16. A court placed her on a five-day remand the following day. Three days later, a Barguna court recorded her statement.
Following the same bail petition of Minni, the HC on August 20 issued the rule asking the government to explain within a week why Minni should not be granted bail in the case.
Besides, the court asked the Barguna SP to explain why he held a press conference on July 18 and said Minni was involved in the murder even before the investigation was completed.