Nur, 3 Rab officials among 35 charged
Nearly a year after the bloodcurdling seven-murder incident in Narayanganj, police yesterday submitted the charge sheet in the sensational case, naming 35 people, including prime accused Nur Hossain and three sacked Rab officials.
Nur Hossain fled to India soon after the gruesome murders and is in prison there for illegal entry.
The three sacked Rab officials -- Lt Col Tareque Sayeed Mohammad, Maj Arif Hossain and Lt Commander MM Rana -- allegedly executed the killing mission in exchange for money. Now behind bars, the trio have also been named as top accused.
Sources said 25 of the charge-sheeted accused are Rab men and 10 are civilians. Of the accused, 22, including 17 Rab members, are in jail while 13 on the run.
Nur Hossain bribed the accused Rab men to kill his rival Narayanganj city panel mayor Nazrul Islam over different enmities and establishing supremacy in Siddhirganj, added the sources citing the charge sheet.
Nazrul, his three aides -- Tajul, Liton and Swapan -- and his driver Jahangir, and senior lawyer Chandan Sarkar and his driver Ibrahim were abducted separately but around the same time in broad daylight in Narayanganj on April 27 last year.
Investigators said the elite force members killed the six others as well because they had witnessed Nazrul's abduction by the Rab men.
Six bodies were found floating in the Shitalakkhya river on April 30 and the other the following day.
In a stunning allegation on May 4, Nazrul's father-in-law Shahidul Islam said some Rab personnel abducted and killed Nazrul in exchange for Tk 6 crore from ward councillor Nur Hossain and his aides.
The gruesome incident sent a chilling message as Rab's alleged role in the murders was criticised at home and abroad.
The charge sheet, however, does not name five of the six accused, including Haji Yasin, general secretary of Siddhirganj upazila Awami League, who were named in the case filed by Nazrul's widow Selina Islam.
She expressed her frustration over this.
“They planned the killing together and even publicly threatened to kill him [Nazrul] two weeks before the incident,” she claimed.
Prosecution counsel Shakhawat Hossain also criticised investigators for dropping their names. He described the charge sheet as incomplete for it was placed without interrogating the prime accused.
“It would have been a complete charge sheet if they quizzed Nur Hossain,” he added.
Mamunur Rashid Mandal, inspector of Narayanganj detectives, also the investigating officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet before Senior Judicial Magistrate Chandni Rupam.
As many as 127 people, including several Rab personnel, gave statements as witness. Investigators submitted 162 pieces of evidence before court.
Briefing journalists at his office in the evening, Khandaker Mohid Uddin, superintendent of Narayanganj police, said, “No responsible person has been dropped from the case. Also, no one has been implicated unnecessarily. Everything has been done based on evidence and witnesses' accounts.”
Asked about the allegation that Rab men took part in the killing for Tk 6 crore, he said, “Money changed hands. But the amount could not be ascertained.”
Two days after the murder, three Rab-11 officials were withdrawn from their duties on April 29.
The trio, two of whom were deputed from army and another from navy, were then sent back to their own forces and subsequently fired from job on May 6.
The High Court on May 11 ordered their arrests.
According to the confessional statement of Maj Arif, given before a Narayanganj magistrate on June 4, Rab teams led by himself and Lt Commander MM Rana abducted and killed the seven and dumped the bodies at the confluence of the Meghna river in the early hours of April 28.
Nur Hossain provided the officers necessary information and ensured that there was no public gathering at Kanchpur Ghat area on that night so that the Rab members could dump the bodies in the river without being seen.
Arif said Tareque assigned him for killing Nazrul during an officers' conference in March, and ordered Narayanganj camp commander Rana to assist him.
At one point after the abductions, Arif called his CO and told him that Nazrul and six others had been picked up. He sought instructions for the next course of action. In response, Tareque ordered Arif to kill all the seven, saying, "There should be no eyewitnesses".
Finally, before committing the coldblooded murders, Arif informed Tareque that his team was ready to kill and dump the seven. The CO replied, "Ok, go ahead," sources quoted from Arif's statement.
The Rab men injected Nazrul and the six others with anaesthetics and then smothered them to death with plastic bags. The bodies were loaded on the trawler waiting there around 1:00am and the Rab members steered off to the Meghna confluence from Kanchpur.
Apart from the three Rab officials, the Rab men who are behind bars are Sub-inspector Purnendu Bala, Assistant Sub-inspectors Bazlur Rahman and Abul Kalam Azad, Habildars Emdadul Haq and Nasiruddin, Constables Sihabuddin, Babul Hasan and Arif Hossain, Lance Nayeks Hira Mia, Belal Hossain and Ruhul Amin and Sepoys Abu Tayeb, Nuruzzaman and Asaduzzaman Nur.
The accused civilians in jail are Martuza Zaman Churchill, Ali Mohammad, Mizanur Rahman Dipu, Raham Ali and Abul Bashar.
[Our Narayanganj correspondent contributed to the story.]