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     Volume 9 Issue 38| September 24, 2010|

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Crime and Punishment

More than a month after the incident,
Ibrahim Ahmed murder case is still cloaked in mystery


Shaon(Left). Ibrahim(Right)

On the fateful evening of August 14, the nurses of Dhaka Medical College Hospital found a man lying in a pool of blood, with a bullet-inflicted gaping hole in his face. Instructed by Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon, Kamal Hossain Kala, the MP's driver and one of the three persons who allegedly left Ibrahim's corpse abandoned in the hospital, filed an Unnatural Death (UD) case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station.

Kala claimed that 38-year-old Ibrahim was fiddling with Shaon's gun in the latter's car, which was parked in Block-6 of Jatya Sangsad. In the case filed that night with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station, Kala said that he was cleaning the car when Ibrahim turned up and, of all things, picked up the lawmaker's licensed gun. Oblivious of what might happen, Ibrahim apparently toyed with the gun before it went off quite accidentally to hit him in the face.

Strange it may sound, Ibrahim's family was not told about the circumstances that led to his death until he was buried in Pubail, Gazipur. Masum Ahmed, the slain leader's brother told The Daily Star a day after the incident that they (the family) did not know how his brother died. The newspaper also tried to contact the lawmaker for his comment, but it was found unreachable.

The following day, Ibrahim's wife Rina Islam made several failed attempts to file a case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station. Police refused to lodge a new case saying an unnatural death case was already recorded.

Five days after the murder, the family went to the court and a murder case was finally lodged implicating Shaon, Kala – who bizarrely enough filed the first case on MP Shaon's behalf – and six other named and ten unnamed persons. In the case statement, Ibrahim Ahmed's brother said that of late, Ibrahim had become more popular in Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon's constituency in Bhola for which the lawmaker felt threatened. According to Ibrahim's brother, Shaon wanted Ibrahim not to participate in the upcoming DCC elections, which Ibrahim flatly refused to do. The case statement went on to say that the accused killed him and then filed a UD case to derail the course of investigation.

Two incriminating pieces of evidence soon surfaced. Even though Kala claimed that the gun went off in the car parked at Block-6 of the parliament building, the guards in the guardroom, which was only 30 yards away from the scene, did not hear any gunshot in the evening of August 14. And the truth came from the horse's mouth: "I went to the spot Friday night and asked the on-duty guards but none of the guards heard the gunshot," Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Moniruzzaman of DB told The Daily Star.

Kala claimed that 38-year-old Ibrahim was fiddling with Shaon's gun in the latter's car, which was parked in Block-6 of Jatya Sangsad. Photo: Zahedul i khan

The second one is even more telling: immediately after the murder, Shaon, along with his men, took Ibrahim to Shumona Clinic in Shadarghat. Why would anyone take a wounded person, badly bleeding, to Shadarghat, when Dhaka Medical College Hospital actually falls on the way?

Media took up the issue and tried to put different discarded sets of the puzzle together. Nineteen days after the killing, the police seemed to have found a murderer. Kamal Hossain Kala, who filed a UD case on Shaon's instruction, confessed to killing Ibrahim. According to Kala's latest version, a tussle over the gun made it go off accidentally, killing the Awami League leader.

Interestingly, the same day, Shaon told the press his own version of the incident. He said that Kala and Ibrahim were “checking out” the pistol and at one stage Kala tried to snatch it from Ibrahim and accidentally pressed the trigger, which eventually killed Ibrahim.

The issue, however, did not die down. Two days later, State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam said that Shaon was guilty under the Arms Act as a bullet triggered from his licensed pistol killed Ibrahim.

After the Eid vacation, Shaon was interrogated and the following day Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner AKM Shahidul Haque told the press: “MP Shaon may have a past tainted in crime, but it can be said for sure that he is no way involved with Ibrahim's murder.”

When journalists asked him why the police were trying to save Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon, Haque replied, “Why will we try to save him? A UD case has been filed, but we are treating it like a murder case. We know it for sure that Nurunnabi is not involved in the murder. We have not got any evidence against him. Why will we implicate him in the murder case if he is in no way involved in it? He may have been involved in bad activities in the past, but he is in no way related to the murder.”

He could not come up with an answer when Haque was asked why Ibrahim, at that time profusely bleeding, was taken to a faraway clinic in Shadarghat while there had been renowned hospitals nearby.

Two days after Ibrahim's murder, Haque called it an accident. When the State Minister for Law said Shaon could be tried under the Arms Act, Haque defended the beleaguered lawmaker saying Shaon did not break the law.

“Journalists and Ibrahim's wife do not have any trust in the police. This is why there is a lot of confusion,” Haque said when he was asked why Shaon went into the Sangsad Bhaban with a gun as it is illegal to do so.

Haque's comments shocked many, including the ruling party leadership, who felt embarrassed when they hit the headlines. A statement from the police came the following day blaming the media for trying to influence the course of the investigation.

Even though, last week the Prime Minister has ordered that the Criminal Investigation Department take up the case from the Detective Branch, there are apprehensions that the true murderers of Ibrahim Ahmed will remain unpunished. When Sheikh Hasina took power about one and a half years ago, she promised to establish justice and rule of law in the country. The killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were hanged and many unsolved mysteries such as the case of 10 trucks loaded with arms are going to be unearthed. It will be a shame if Ibrahim's killers are not brought before the law. Ibrahim was an Awami League leader, and if the murderers of a ruling party member are not hunted down, the establishment of rule of law that the AL so famously promised will sound disturbingly hollow.


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