‘Kidnap' of Farhad Mazhar: Police 'hunting' for microbus
Detectives are trying to find the microbus in which writer and poet Farhad Mazhar claimed to have been forcibly taken to Khulna early Monday morning.
The police have collected that morning's CCTV footage of the Gabtoli area where the mobile phone of Farhad was seen active. They are trying to track down the owners of some vehicles seen in the footage, Farhad's family friend said quoting police officials.
Meanwhile, a team of Detective Branch (DB) of police, which is investigating the incident, travelled to Khulna from Gabtoli yesterday to find more sources of CCTV footage.
Golam Mostofa Rasel, additional deputy commissioner of DB west division, told The Daily Star that the police were trying to collect CCTV footage of six areas where Farhad's phone was active on Monday.
After Farhad was reported missing, police started tracking his phone and found it active in Gabtoli, Manikganj, Aricha, Faridpur, Jessore and finally in Khulna.
Farhad in a judicial statement on Tuesday said he was forced into the microbus, blindfolded and taken to Khulna.
Members of law enforcement agencies found Farhad in Jessore on a bus heading for Dhaka from Khulna around 11:30pm on Monday, more than 18 hours after he was reported missing.
Both Rab-6 and Abhaynagar police initially took credit for finding Farhad, but Deputy Inspector General of Khulna Range Police, Didar Ahmed, at a press conference said police and Rab jointly found him.
“The junior officers of Rab and the police were trying to take the credit. Later, I told them that credit goes to both forces as all worked hard,” the DIG told The Daily Star yesterday.
Farhad was taken to Adabor Police Station in Dhaka around 8:00am on Tuesday and moved to the office of DB where top officials interrogated him.
During interrogation, he said the abductors gave him a bus ticket and asked him to go back to Dhaka.
However, Mohammad Shadi, manager of Hanif Paribahan in Khulna, told The Daily Star that Farhad himself booked the ticket around 4:00pm and that nobody else was with him. He enquired about a restaurant and left. He came back to the ticket counter around 9:00pm, charged his phone for about 10 minutes before getting on the air-conditioned bus, said Shadi.
After giving judicial statement before a magistrate in Dhaka, Farhad was taken to Birdem Hospital as he was feeling sick.
“He is traumatised and now under doctor's observation,” said Goutam Das, Farhad's family friend.
His relatives said he was tired and would talk about everything after he recovers.
Investigators said they would talk to him after his recovery.
Goutam said Farhad went through checkups and tests so that they could know for sure he was not drugged before being released.
A doctor treating him on condition of anonymity said Farhad was doing well and that they might release him today if he got a good night's sleep yesterday.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters in Gazipur that police were investigating how Farhad Mazhar left his house and went to Khulna. The investigation report would be published soon, he said.
Hours after Farhad was reported missing, his wife at a press conference at their home said she got a phone call from his phone at 5:29am.
"He told me that some people were taking him away. He said they would kill him,” his wife Farida Akhter said.
She said Farhad again called at 6:21am and requested her to arrange Tk 30 to 35 lakh for ransom.
The family received three to four more calls from him. The last one was at 7:30pm, she said.
Footage from CCTV cameras installed near his house show Farhad leaving his home at 5:05am alone.