'Torture' on Rabby

SC to hold hearing on case filing

A full bench of the Supreme Court may decide on Monday whether the written complaint by Bangladesh Bank official Golam Rabby would be recorded as a case against the police personnel who allegedly tortured him.

Chamber Judge Justice Hasan Foez Siddique yesterday set the date for further hearing on the matter as he stayed a High Court order that asked the officer-in-charge of Mohammadpur Police Station to immediately record the complaint as a case.

The HC on Monday also observed that Sub-inspector Masud Shikder, who had been accused by Rabby of torturing him for money, should be sacked.  

The stay order came in response to a government appeal. The chamber judge also sent the petition to the full bench of the apex court for hearing.

The SI and his subordinates beat up the BB official and demanded Tk 5 lakh on January 9 in the capital's Mohammadpur, according to the complaint. Following public outrage and protests, the central bank governor wrote to the inspector general of police (IGP), seeking justice for the young journalist-turned-banker.

With marks of physical assaults and mental trauma, Rabby was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

During yesterday's hearing, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told the court that the government had already begun departmental proceedings against the police personnel, including Masud Shikder, of Mohammadpur Police Station.

Besides, the primary investigation found evidence of torture and the SI has already been closed, he said, adding that a fully-fledged inquiry would now be conducted into the incident, and then the responsible police officers punished.     

The government's move to seek a stay on the HC order came two days into the IGP's claim that the incident had occurred due to Rabby's refusal to let the law enforcers frisk him and an altercation with policemen.

At a community-policing event at Aminbazar on the outskirts of the capital, IGP AKM Shahidul Hoque said that preventing police from discharging their duties was a criminal offence, and a case could be lodged against the offender.

Then he went on to narrating the January 9 incident.

“Around 11:45pm, he [Rabby] was passing by Geneva Camp. There was a police checkpoint. Police wanted to frisk him, but he would not allow.”

Showing identity cards is not enough to make police believe that he is that person, as identity cards can be “fake”, the IGP said.

Police should have taken the man to the police station and verified the identity and then the man should have been given a lift home. But things did not happen this way and so the SI was suspended, Shahidul said, adding that another reason behind the suspension was to ensure a fair investigation.

The IGP's statements, however, contradict the versions of Rabby and witnesses.

Rabby, an assistant director of BB, said there was no police checkpoint. “On that night, a policeman suddenly grabbed my [shirt's] collar from behind and tried to label me as a yaba trader. Can this be a process of searching?”