The High Court yesterday observed that Sub-inspector Masud Shikder of Mohammadpur Police Station should be sacked as suspension is not enough for detaining and torturing Bangladesh Bank official Golam Rabbi.
The SI committed a criminal offence, the court said while hearing a writ petition filed on Sunday by two lawyers and a journalist in this regard.
The court also expressed surprise that the police station did not record the first information report (FIR) until yesterday in connection with the custodial torture of Rabbi in the capital's Mohammadpur on January 9.
The HC bench of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice AKM Shahidul Huq ordered the officer-in-charge of Mohammadpur Police Station to immediately record the complaint of the victim as FIR.
Masud was suspended after a police probe report was submitted to the deputy commissioner (Tejgaon division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police on Saturday. However, police are yet to disclose the findings of the probe.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan yesterday said the SI was suspended as a primary investigation found that he did not behave like a policeman.
Another investigation is underway into two incidents (assaults on Rabbi and a Dhaka South City Corporation official). If the probe finds anyone guilty of the allegations, proper action would be taken against them, the minister told reporters at his secretariat office.
According to an assistant inspector general of police at Police Headquarters, departmental actions in the police include dismissal of a cop on charges of forgery, moral turpitude, serious breach of conduct and anti-disciplinary activities.
The headquarters in a statement yesterday said 76 policemen, from the ranks of constable to SI, were either fired or forced into retirement last year under departmental actions.
NO CASE FILED YET
Rabbi submitted his complaint to OC Jamal Uddin Mir of Mohammadpur Police Station on January 10. The OC said no case was filed in this connection till last evening as he did not receive the HC order.
Yesterday, the court also issued a rule upon the government to explain within two weeks why the police torture and infliction of physical injury on Golam Rabbi should not be declared illegal.
The secretaries to the ministries of home and law, inspector general of police, DMP commissioner, deputy commissioner (Tejgaon zone), OC of Mohammadpur Police Station and its SI Masud Shikder have been made respondents to the rule.
The writ petition was filed with the HC as public interest litigation, seeking the court's directives to the government to form a judicial committee to probe the custodial torture of Rabbi.
The petitioners also sought an order from the HC on the government to arrest Masud and give the victim a compensation of Tk 3 crore.
On January 9 night, Masud and his colleagues allegedly beat up the central bank official and demanded Tk 5 lakh from him. The SI also threatened to kill him in a “shootout” and frame him in narcotics cases if he did not pay them the money.
The police brutality on Rabbi triggered a public outrage. Masud was withdrawn from duty on January 11 and suspended five days later.
'NO DUTIES IN PLAINCLOTHES'
Asked whether the police were defying instructions not to discharge duties in plainclothes, the home minister said: “We only give the police the guidelines; the force is implementing those.”
The government is taking measures to stop policemen performing duties in plainclothes, he added.
As a tactic, police sometimes might launch operations in plainclothes. But in those cases, the law enforcers wear waistcoats inscribed “police”, “DB” and “Rab”, said Asaduzzaman.
PROBE BODY VISITS RABBI
A three-member probe committee, formed by the Police Headquarters, yesterday visited Rabbi for the second time at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Talking to The Daily Star, the bank official said he told the committee that SI Masud along with three to four other constables of his team had tortured him on January 9 night. He demanded exemplary punishment for SI Masud and his colleagues.
In another development, officials and employees of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) yesterday formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club, protesting the custodial torture of Bikash Chandra Das, a cleaning inspector of the corporation, in the capital's Jatrabari on January 15.
They demanded exemplary punishment of SI Arshadul Islam Akash of Jatrabari Police Station and also pledged to continue their movement until the cop is dismissed from his post and arrested.
The Police Headquarters in its statement said it was inappropriate to blame the force due to misconduct of an individual.
Most of the policemen discharge their duties as per the law. However, there are incidents of breaches. The police do not support any offence or offender, claimed the release.
The police also take legal actions against those involved in criminal activities, added the statement.