Turning down previous police findings and forensic reports, Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) yesterday pressed murder charges against six persons for the deaths of a student couple in a hotel room in Rajshahi in 2016.
Investigation Officer Mohidul Islam submitted the case’s charge sheet with the Chief Metropolitan Court in the afternoon, PBI and court officials said.
Among the accused, four were university and college students -- Ahsan Habib; Rahat Mahmud; Borhan Kabir Utso; and Al Amin. Md Bokhtiar and Nayan Hossain, were hotel staffers.
The four students gang-raped the girl, tortured and murdered the couple in their hotel room while the two staffers assisted the killers by leading them into the couple’s hotel room, according to the charge-sheet.
The IO said the couple was murdered out of jealousy as the girl broke up with Rahat.
“The investigation was tricky as our findings were not corroborating with some experts. But the facts we uncovered proves they were murdered in a pre-planned way,” he said.
On April 22, 2016, police recovered the bodies of Mizanur Rahman, 22, a student of Rajshahi University and his fiancée Sumaiya Nasrin, 20, a student of Pabna University of Science and Technology, from a room of Hotel Nice International in the city’s Shaheb Bazar.
Sumaiya’s father, a member of police, filed a murder case with Boalia Police Station, accusing unidentified persons.
Ten months later, police submitted final report stating that Mizanur hanged himself after raping and killing Sumaiya, on the basis of autopsy reports.
A Rajshahi court did not accept it after the public prosecutor said the inquest report and evidence was contradictory.
On April 17, 2017, the court asked PBI to reinvestigate.
IO Mohidul said police earlier reported Mizanur posted a note on social media before hanging himself, but PBI’s Cyber Crime Unit found out he did not.
PBI analysed photographs taken by its crime scene unit (CSU) and saw that Mizanur’s body was found hanging from the ceiling with hands tied with Sumaiya’s scarf.
“Our findings contradict police and autopsy reports that claimed Mizanur killed Sumaiya and then died by suicide. He could not have killed himself with hands tied,” the IO said.
CSU found Sumaiya’s body on the bed with her face buried under a pillow.
The pillow cover had blood-stained fingerprints but Mizanur’s hands were found clean, according to the charge sheet.
Also, the autopsy report mentioned non-continuous ligature marks around Mizanur’s neck, proving that he died by suicide, it said.
But the report avoided mentioning continuous ligature marks and blood-clogged bruises on both sides of his neck, the charge sheet added.
Besides, butts of four cigarette brands were found in the room, ensuring presence of other people, PBI said.
PBI also analysed victims’ call records, which was not done previously.
After investigation, PBI arrested Habib and Utso, who gave confessional statements in courts admitting their involvement.
Later, another accused Nayan gave judicial confession.
Bribing hotel staffers, the four entered the couple’s room, cutting a window grille beside the air conditioner, said the IO.
They found Sumaiya alone and forced her to call Mizanur, the PBI official said, adding that once Mizanur arrived, the four raped her and killed them.
The charges, however, avoided bringing allegations of flawed police investigation and forensic findings. PBI officials said those were “not part of their investigation”.
“It [previous investigation] was an evidential error. We weren’t asked to investigate that,” the IO said.