A former union parishad chairman in Brahmanbaria died on November 2 last year, but documents placed before a district court show he “gave statement” to a police officer as a witness in a murder case nearly three months after his death.
The documents also show that PBI Inspector Harunur Rashid, the investigation officer of the case, recorded deposition of a retired government official as a witness on a date when the man was in India for treatment.
The inspector submitted a four-page supplementary charge sheet on April 9, mentioning that he recorded statements of 50 witnesses. Later, 24 of the witnesses filed affidavits with the court stating that they did not give any depositions as witnesses.
Such big flaws and discrepancies in the investigation came to light when former chairman of Biddyakut Union Parishad Abdul Hannan Bhuiyan addressed a press conference on September 8.
In the supplementary charge sheet, Hannan is one of the 10 accused.
Hannan alleged that Inspector Harunur Rashid demanded a bribe of Tk 20 lakh from him on March 21. As he refused to pay, his son and a nephew were named in the charge sheet.
Following Hannan’s allegation, The Daily Star analysed relevant documents and talked to a dozen people.
The papers show the PBI inspector recorded statements of former Biddyakut UP chairman Abdur Rouf and Ajanta Kumar Bhadra of Merkuta village in Nabinagar upazila on January 31. Rouf and Ajanta are witness No 36 and 37.
Rouf’s elder son Moniruzzaman said his father died of heart attack on November 2 last year.
After the man aged 73 complained of chest pain, they headed for Dhaka for his better treatment. As his condition deteriorated on the way, he was taken to a hospital in Sonargaon in Narayanganj, where he breathed his last.
Moniruzzaman showed a copy of his father’s death certificate they collected on December 4 last year from Biddyakut Union Parishad. The Daily Star obtained a copy of the death certificate.
According to locals, Rouf was a respected person in the area and four-time UP chairman. Many of them attended his Namaz-e-Janaza.
Ajanta, a retired government official who now runs a kindergarten school in his village, said no one recorded his deposition on January 31. “None came to me and asked for witness deposition either.”
He further said he went to India on January 9 for treatment and returned on February 8.
Asked for documents of his visit, the 66-year-old provided the papers with copies of his passport and visa which proved his claim to be true.
He also said a sub-inspector from Brahmanbaria office of Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) met him and collected copies of his passport and visa.
Al-Amin Chowdhury, 22, a resident of Sonargaon village in Kasba upazila, was murdered in Shibpur area of Nabinagar, on the night of February 13, 2015.
The next day, the victim’s father Jahangir Alam Chowdhury filed a case with Nabinagar Police Station, accusing 10 people, including former chairman Abdul Hannan, his son and a nephew.
Three months later, the case was handed over to Criminal Investigation Department (CID), which submitted a charge sheet on January 8, 2017, accusing Al Amin’s brother-in-law Zakir Hossain and his associates Billal, Shaon alias Rana and Mobarok Mia.
The CID in its probe found that Zakir’s accomplices took the victim to a religious gathering in Baghaura village, and gave him sedative-laced food on the way back. Later, they strangled him to death.
The complainant filed a naraji (no confidence) petition on the CID charge sheet. So, a court tasked the Detective Branch in the district with further investigation.
After probe, the DB submitted a charge sheet, adding two more accomplices of Zakir with the earlier four. Then the PBI was given the charge of investigation.
In the PBI charge sheet, Inspector Harun mentioned that the six people earlier named as accused by the CID and DB charge sheet were innocent.
Ex-chairman Hannan alleged that he had a longstanding enmity with his close neighbour Zakir over land dispute. “Zakir masterminded the murder of his brother-in-law Al Amin and persuaded his father-in-law to file a case against me and my family members.”
Contacted, PBI inspector Harunur Rashid said, “I have submitted to the court what I have found in my long investigation.”
He added, “What I submitted is true.”
The official claimed that Hannan raised false allegations as his name came up in investigation.
Asked about “recording the statement” of a deceased person and someone who was in India, the officer said he cannot recall since he does not have the case dockets before him right now.
Harun is now serving in Jamalpur.
Contacted on September 13, Chief of PBI Banaj Kumar Majumdar said he has already asked the additional deputy inspector general to form a committee and investigate the matter within a week.
“If the probe finds the officer guilty, we will take necessary steps against him,” he told The Daily Star.