Bearing the unbearable
While he was still reeling with shock from the loss of his eight-year-old younger son, Mohidul Islam had to see his elder son taken away by police.
Sourav, 12, was not only shown arrested in the case for murdering his brother Sohag but also forced to give a confessional statement, said the father, a day labourer by profession.
"Police took bribe from the murderers since they are influential people and forced my elder son Sourav Mia to confess to the killing of my younger son Md Sohag," Mohidul told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
After recording Sourav's statement, police submitted a charge sheet naming him as the lone accused.
But the father filed a no-confidence motion and the court handed over the investigation charge to the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) on July 11, 2017.
After investigating the case for the last four years, PBI found Sourav to be innocent and managed to arrest two persons in connection with the murder, officials said.
Md Mansur Ali, sub-inspector of PBI Bogura, also the present investigating officer of the case, said, "We did not find any involvement of Sourav. He was not even present near the spot at the time of occurrence."
Asked how local police could submit the charge sheet, he said, "You better ask the local police about it."
On August 25, 2015, Sohag's body was found in a jute field in Katakhali village in Bogura. A day later, Mohidul filed a case with Sariakandi Police Station.
On November 29 that year, a team of local police suddenly came to his house and took away Sourav, saying they needed him for questioning.
"We followed the police team to the police station but the then investigation officer Nayan Kumar was not allowing us to meet my son," Mohidul claimed.
"I could not see my boy but heard his screams. After a while, they asked me to go home and meet my son in court the next day."
On November 30, 2015, police produced Sourav before the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court's in Bogura, where he gave his confessional statement. He told the court the reason behind the killing was that his parents used to love Sohag more than him.
The court granted him bail due to his minor age and allowed him to stay with his parents. However, he has to appear at every hearing as a suspect.
After getting charge of the investigation, PBI learnt that Towhidul Islam, 35, and his cousin Billal Hossain, 40, were seen near the spot on the day of the incident.
"Towhid left the village after the killing and started working in Chattogram," Sub-Inspector Mansur told this newspaper on Wednesday.
Billal also vanished soon after the re-investigation began, he said, adding, "We managed to arrest the duo through digital surveillance."
Towhid, arrested in Chattogram, was produced before the Bogura court on October 24, 2019.
In his statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Towhid said he was annoyed with Sohag for ruining his son's education, according to sources.
"I shared this with my cousin Billal. He asked me to bring Sohag to the jute field to give the kid a lesson. In the evening, I told Sohag I need him to pick vegetables and he agreed," Towhid told the court.
"I took the boy to the field and handed him over to Billal and came back. Around 8:30pm, his body was found there."
The PBI team arrested Billal from Gazipur and produced him before the court on January 14 this year.
In his statement, Billal said Sohag's father owned a chili field. One day, Billal's goat ate up the plants there and this made Mohidul very angry. "Mohidul even slapped me," he said.
"On the day, learning about Towhid's anger, I asked him to bring Sohag to the field. He accordingly brought the kid. I held his two legs tight while Towhid strangulated him and hacked him with a sickle," said Billal.
Akramul Hossain, police super of PBI Bogura, said, "We did not find any involvement of Sourav in the case. We have almost completed the investigation and will file a fresh charge sheet soon."
ROLE OF LOCAL POLICE
Contacted, Nayan Kumar, former sub-inspector of Sariakandi Police Station, who submitted the first charge sheet, said, "We have a lot of work to do at the police station and PBI investigated it for four to five years. There can be new findings."
Nayan, now working as CID Inspector in Natore, added, "I have submitted the charge sheet based on my findings."
Replying to a query, he said it was the court which recorded Sourav's statement. "I did not take any favour from anyone for this."
Banaj Kumar Majumder, deputy inspector general of police and chief of PBI, said higher officials should be involved in the process before any recording of a child's confessional statement.