Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) yesterday solved a seven-month-old rape case that took place in Rajshahi's Durgapur upazila, revealing involvement of a village leader and a lawyer in arbitrating the non-compoundable offence of the rape of an autistic girl.
The rapist, Shahidul Islam, (50), confessed to committing the crime while he was placed before the court of judicial magistrate Uzzal Mahmud in Rajshahi in the afternoon, said Sub-inspector Mohidul Islam of PBI.
In his confession, Shahidul revealed the name of the village leader -- Abdul Khaleque -- who took Tk 90,000 from him to "settle" the case, without taking it to police or court, he said.
The PBI obtained an affidavit that shows a lawyer signed the arbitration document.
According to Shahidul's confessional statement, he took the 15-year girl to a betel-leaf orchard and raped her on December 12 last year when her mother went out to work, leaving her and her 10-year-old brother home.
When the girl's brother saw Shahidul forcing himself onto her, he cried out for help. Shahidul then fled the scene.
After learning about the incident, the girl's mother informed village leaders. Shahidul asked her to remain silent while Khaleque assured her of justice.
Denied of justice for three months, she then went to a Rajshahi court and filed a rape case on February 11. The judicial magistrate court of Rajshahi took the case into congnisance and asked Durgapur Police Station to record it.
The court also asked PBI to investigate.
Taking over the case documents on February 13, PBI found that even though the rapist was absconding, he tried to convince the complainant to withdraw the case. PBI also set up surveillance in the village and on Monday arrested Shahidul from Rajshahi city.
Shahidul told the court that he paid Khaleque Tk 90,000 for settling the case. But Khaleque did not pay the victim anything.
On June 11, Khaleque took the victim's mother to Rajshahi city and forced her to sign an affidavit where she was stated to declare that she was content with the arbitration.Shahidul tried to evade arrest by showing the affidavit, said the PBI official.
Shahidul did not mention the lawyer's name in the confessional statement, he added.
Contacted yesterday, Entaj Ali, the lawyer, said he prepared the affidavit and affirmed it through notary even though he knew that it was a rape case. "I knew about the case but when the village leaders, including Khaleque, and the girl's mother came to me and said the case has been settled outside the court, I prepared the document," he added.
The Daily Star has a copy of the affidavit, which shows that it was affirmed by notary public one Nasira Banu.
The PBI official said they will forward the findings to their higher authorities so that they can take a decision whether to accuse Khaleque and the lawyer in the case.