Be cautious while recruiting for Rab
A Narayanganj court has asked the Rapid Action Battalion to stay alert so none of its members indulges in criminal activities being highly ambitious as some of them did in the 2014 seven-murder incident.
Narayanganj District and Sessions Judge's Court, in its full verdict of the sensational seven-murder case, has also asked the authorities to be cautious while recruiting Rab members in future.
“Several highly ambitious members of Rab, which is a disciplined force, in collusion with some general people committed the heinous killings where Nazrul was the only target but six more innocent people became victim,” said Public Prosecutor of the court Wazed Ali Khokon, quoting from the verdict.
Judge Syed Enayet Hossain on January 16 handed down death penalty to 26 people and jailed nine other accused for various terms, from seven to 17 years. Of the convicts, 25 are from Rab.
Sixteen of the 26 sentenced to death are former Rab members who include the then commanding officer of Rab-11 in Narayanganj Lt Col Tareque Sayeed Mohammad and the then company commanders of Rab-11 Maj Arif Hossain and Lt Commander Masud Rana. The three are sacked from the defence services.
Never before in the country's history have so many members of a disciplined force been given death penalty for abduction and murders of civilians.
The rest of the convicts include prime accused Nur Hossain, expelled vice-president of Siddhirganj Awami League, and his cohorts. He is also a sacked Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC) councillor.
Seven people, including the then NCC panel mayor Nazrul Islam and senior lawyer Chandan Sarker, were abducted from Dhaka-Narayanganj link road on April 27, 2014. Later, their bodies were found floating in the Shitalakkhya river.
Yesterday morning, the public prosecutor briefed reporters at the conference room of Narayanganj court over the observations made in the case verdict.
Hours after his briefing, death reference of the case reached the High Court for examination of the trial court verdict. If a lower court sentences any person to death, its judgment is examined by the HC through hearing arguments for confirmation of the death sentence.
Quoting from the verdict, Wazed Ali told reporters that Nur Hossain is a listed criminal and land grabber, and victim Nazrul too was a criminal. Both of them had big gangs.
Nur and Nazrul were locked into feud over establishing supremacy in their locality, which led to the killing.
Nazrul was the target but six more innocent people became victims of the acts of Nur's gang and some Rab members.
“Rab is a disciplined force. It has a glorious role in curbing militancy and terrorism, narcotics control and at different crisis moments of the country,” Wazed Ali said, quoting from the verdict.
The entire force is not responsible for the seven-murder incident. The blame lies with the individuals who carried out the act being driven by greed and high ambition, he added.
“Although the incident caused temporary damage to the dignity of Rab to some extent, it could not tarnish the good image of the force as a whole,” the public prosecutor said, adding the judge in the verdict praised the Rab and also rebuked the force.
CASE DOCUMENTS REACH HC
The case documents and judgment reached the HC from the Narayanganj court as death reference, Additional Registrar of HC Sabbir Faiz told The Daily Star yesterday.
“We will now pray to Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha for his approval for preparing the paper book of the case. If the chief justice gives the approval, we will take steps for preparing the paper book for hearing the death reference,” he said.
Sabbir further said it may take two months to prepare the paper book. Once it is ready, the chief justice might assign an HC bench for hearing the death reference.