Taqi Murder in Narayanganj: Eight years’ probe yields nothing
Rownak Rehana routinely dusts the trophies her son had won in different competitions and the books he used to read.
Tanwir Muhammad Taqi will never return. But she has to go through the keepsakes at a showcase in Taqi's room to feel his presence.
"She touches the mementos almost every day," Rownak's husband and Taqi's father Rafiur Rabbi told The Daily Star.
Eight years after Taqi's murder, the pain of the grieving parents is as palpable as their agonising wait for justice is. The investigation into the killing stalled for reasons unbeknownst to people.
Days before March 6, 2014, the first death anniversary of Taqi, a draft of the investigation report got leaked and Col Ziaul Ahsan, then additional director general of Rab, told reporters that officers found evidence suggesting that Ajmeri Osman and 10 of his associates were involved in the murder.
Col Ziaul said the charges would be pressed any day. That day has yet to come.
Seventeen-year-old Taqi went missing soon after he left home on Shaista Khan Road for Sudhijon Pathagar, a local library, around 4:00pm on March 6, 2013.
His A-level results were out the next day and he had the highest score in the world in physics obtaining 297 out of 300 marks.
In chemistry, he got 294, the highest in the country. He was a student of ABC International School.
His body was found floating on the Shitalakhya river on March 8.
Rabbi filed a murder case with Narayanganj Kotwali Police Station later that day. He also submitted a complaint to the superintendent of police on March 18, accusing seven men, including Shamim Osman, by name and 8-10 others unnamed persons.
"There would have been some kind of consolation for us if the killers are punished," said Rabbi, a renowned cultural activist of Narayanganj, on Wednesday.
"The long wait for justice has now turned into anger. Journalists came to my house, but my wife did not say a word," he said.
There has been no clear answer from the authorities on what is holding the investigators back from officially turning in the probe report. For the last few years, Rab had only one thing to say: "The investigation is going on."
The home ministry on June 20, 2013, ordered Rab to investigate the case upon a High Court order following an appeal by Rabbi.
On August 7, 2013, Rab officers raided Ajmeri's "Winner Fashion" office on Allama Iqbal Road in Narayanganj and seized a pair of blood-stained jeans, a pistol butt and equipment used for yaba consumption. Officials also found numerous bullet marks on the walls, an almirah and a sofa.
"Winner Fashion" was one of the six "torture cells" detected by Taqi Mancha, a citizen platform formed in 2014 to fight crimes in Narayanganj. Taqi was allegedly tortured to death inside "Winner Fashion".
Ajmeri is the son of late Jatiya Party MP Nasim Osman and nephew of Shamim Osman.
Others named in the draft charge-sheet as involved are Rajib, Kalam Shikder, Mamun, Apu, Kajol, Shipon, Jamshed Hossain, Yusuf Hossain Liton, Sultan Shawkat alias Bhromor and Tayebuddin who goes by the alias Jacky.
Law enforcers arrested Yusuf Hossain Liton, Rifat, Sultan Shawkat, Tayebuddin and Simanta in connection with the murder. Yousuf and Sultan gave confessional statements before a magistrate.
In his statement on November 12, 2013, Sultan said Ajmeri Osman led the killing. Sixteen days after making the confession, he appealed to the magistrate, seeking withdrawal of his statement.
Sultan fled the country, walking out of jail on bail on March 20, 2014. A Narayanganj court issued a warrant against him later. The four others are now out of jail on bail.
On Thursday, Taqi's father Rafiur Rabbi, who took part in countless demonstrations and public events to talk about his grievances, said the investigation was complete in the very first year after the murder.
Political influence stalled the progress of the case, he alleged.
"The law enforcement agencies identified the killers … they prepared the charge sheet within a year. Since the accused were family members of an influential political leader in Narayanganj and linked to the ruling party, the probe report has not been submitted in eight years."
Seeking the prime minister's intervention, he said, "It's now in the prime minister's hand."
Contacted, Rab-11 Commanding Officer Lt Col Khandaker Saiful Alam said the investigation was taking time because the case was complex.
He added that officers can't say specifically when they would press charges.
He added that there was no pressure on Rab regarding the submission of the charge sheet.
Prosecutor Pradip Ghosh Babu on March 1 said he appealed to a court for issuance of a directive for quick submission of the charge sheet and arrest of those named in the confessional statements.
The court then ordered the investigation officer to press the charge sheet quickly, but rejected the appeal for any arrest. It, however, wrote in the order that if the officer wanted, he could arrest them.
Pradip said the prosecutors filed such appeals five to six times and courts gave similar orders every time, but Rab didn't comply.