On July 25, 1989, Sagira Morshed Salam, 34, was going to Viqarunnisa Noon School on Bailey Road by a rickshaw to pick up her daughter Saharat.
Sagira, however, could not reach pick up her daughter as muggers shot her to death in front of the school.
Her husband Abdus Salam Chowdhury filed a murder case with Ramna Police Station the same day. But the trial proceedings of the case had been stayed for the last 28 years following a High Court (HC) order.
Yesterday, the HC lifted the stay order and cleared the way for the lower court to resume the proceedings.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman ordered Police Bureau of Investigation to complete further probe into the case in two months and directed the trial court to finish its proceedings in three months.
The bench also directed the HC’s registrar to prepare a list of criminal cases that have been stayed by the court until 2010. It directed HC Registrar Md Golam Rabbani to submit the list to the chief justice within three weeks for taking necessary decision in this regard.
During delivery of the verdict, the HC bench expressed confusion regarding punishment of the muggers who allegedly killed Sagira Morshed as 28 years have passed after the HC’s stay order.
“Allah knows what will be the result of the murder case after so many years. The rickshaw-puller is a very important witness of the case. There is doubt whether the rickshaw-puller can be traced,” Justice Enayetur Rahim said.
The judge also commented that neither the state nor the judiciary could ensure justice for the victim’s family.
The HC bench came up with the judgement after hearing a petition filed by one Maruf Reza, whose name was recorded in the statements of the prosecution witnesses -- challenging the trial court’s directive in 1991 for conducting further investigation into the case.
Police submitted the charge sheet to the lower court concerned against one Minto alias Mantoo alias Moron. The charge sheet was placed on January 17, 1991 and the court also recorded statements of seven witnesses.
Name of Maruf Reza, a relative of former home minister Mahmudul Hasan, came to light when the trial court was recording statements of the witnesses.
Then the lower court on May 23, 1991 directed police to further investigate into the case.
Later, Maruf Reza filed a revision petition with the HC, challenging the lower court order for further investigation.
The HC on July 2, 1991 stayed the trial proceedings of the case and further probe.
Recently, intelligence agency informed the status of the murder case to the attorney general’s office. Then the attorney general’s office took an initiative for hearing the case.
Deputy Attorney General Farhad Ahmed argued for the state, saying that further investigation and trial proceedings need to be finished quickly.
Maruf Reza’s lawyer Advocate Yusuf Hossain Humayun told the court that his client’s name was not included in the first information report of the case.
Reza, who had been arrested, was later exempted from the case.
Mantoo had also been arrested in connection with the case. Reza and Mantoo were released from jail on bail, DAG Farhad added.