Killing of Ex-Major Sinha: Cops’ FIR, inquest report contradict each other
The first information report and the inquest report prepared by police over the death of Sinha Md Rashed Khan contradict each other, raising doubts about the precise sequence of events that led to the former army officer's death.
The FIR, filed by Sub-inspector Nandadulal Raxit of Teknaf Police Station, claimed that Liaqat Ali, in-charge of Baharchhara Police Investigation Centre, fired four shots at Maj (retd) Sinha to protect himself and the lives of his fellow officers.
However, the inquest report said a total of six gunshot wounds were found in the ex-army major's body after it was brought to Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital morgue.
"His eyes are half-open. His body bears a total of six gunshot wounds: one beneath his left shoulder bone, one in his left rib cage, one above his left hip, one in his left arm, one in his back and one above his hip," mentioned the inquest report prepared by SI Aminul Islam of Cox's Bazar Model Police Station at 1:30am on August 1.
But police's claims of firing shots in self-defence raised a question as to why the law enforcers had to fire four or six shots to protect themselves. Sinha's mother Nasima Akhter also asked a similar question.
Police could have shot him in the leg, injured him or made him surrender or interrogated him instead of killing him, she told this newspaper.
The FIR claimed that when Sinha was taking out his gun from the right side of his body, the cop fired four shots at him.
His family and friends told The Daily Star that the 36-year-old was right-handed. According to the inquest report, all the injuries on the front side of his body were in the left part.
Sinha, who served in the Special Security Force (SSF), was killed in police firing at Baharchhara police check post on Marine Drive road in Teknaf on Friday night, triggering angry reactions on the social media with many decrying it as police excess.
Following the incident, 21 policemen, including Liaqat Ali, were closed. The government also formed a committee which is investigating the incident.
Nandadulal named Shahedul Islam alias Shifat, who was accompanying Sinha, as the lone accused in the FIR. Shifat, a student of a private university, was charged with obstructing government activities and drawing firearms in an attempt to kill, it said.
Besides, police also filed a case against Sinha and Shifat under the 2018 Narcotics Control Act, showing 50 pieces of yaba and 250 grams of cannabis in the seizure list.
The FIR, however, didn't say much about the weapon -- Walther P22 -- recovered from the spot.
Sinha, along with Shifat, was going back to Cox's Bazar from Teknaf by his private vehicle.
The ex-army officer, who was from Jashore, took early retirement from the army in 2018 and had been making travel documentaries for a Youtube channel called "Just Go."
He took three students of a private university with him to Cox's Bazar from the capital on July 3 and had been staying at Nilima Resort in Himchhari area. They went to different mountainous areas of Teknaf for shooting, according to his family members.
But ever since the killing, multiple versions of the incident continued to circulate.
In the FIR, police claimed that Sinha had aimed his pistol at the law enforcers and that they fired shots in self-defence.
They had taken position at the checkpoint at 9:15pm, and Sinha's car arrived there approximately 20 minutes later, the FIR mentioned.
They gave a signal to stop the car approaching the check point. But it tried to cross the checkpoint, defying the signal. At one stage, Liaqat used a block at the chock post to stop the car and asked the people inside it to come out with their hands up.
Liaqat asked the person in the driving seat to come out of the car and put his hands up. Then the policemen wanted to know his identity.
The FIR stated, "Sinha began arguing with the policemen for a little while, and then suddenly took out a gun from the right side of his body." He was then shot by Liaqat.
Police claimed that they immediately took him to Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital.
But the arrival records of the hospital show that the body was brought in at 11:55pm, meaning there was a delay in taking him to hospital after he was critically wounded.
The scene of the incident in Shamlapur area is 48 kilometres from Cox's Bazar Sadar and it takes less than an hour to reach that place.
Hospital sources said Sinha was in army combat T-shirt and trousers when he was taken to the hospital. His body was later brought to the Combined Military Hospital in the capital where his family members were allowed to see only his face for a few minutes on Sunday.
He was buried at Banani Graveyard on Monday. The autopsy report is yet to be prepared.
The FIR said one Nurul Amin, 22, of Marishbunia village of Baharchhara Union is a witness to the incident.
However, when a correspondent of this newspaper visited his house on Monday, it was found locked.
Nurul's neighbours said he along with his family left the house the same day but they did not know where he went. Nurul, a farmer, is involved with the community police.
Similarly, Md Aiyas (40), listed as a witness in the FIR, also left his house, locals told our correspondent.
The locals also said the muezzin of Baitun Noor Jame Masjid was a witness to the incident. The mosque is about 10 yards away from the scene of the incident. However, the muezzin has been missing since August 1 afternoon. He has not been listed as a witness in the FIR.
The committee, formed by the home ministry, went to Cox's Bazar yesterday to investigate the incident.
The team members had a long meeting at the Circuit House and drew up an action plan, Chattogram Additional Divisional Commissioner Mizanur Rahman told reporters later.
"The members will go wherever they need to go… The investigation team will talk to witnesses," he said, adding that efforts would be made to submit the report in seven working days.