College Student’s Death: Of a probe report without DNA test
Police recently submitted a probe report without conducting a DNA test of the lone accused in the case filed over abetting the death by suicide of a college student, even though male DNA was found on the victim's body.
While a legal expert said a probe report without a DNA test of the lone accused is incomplete, the investigation officer in the case said it was "irrelevant" based on the findings of the probe.
In the tests done after the college student's body was recovered from her Gulshan flat on April 26, the DNA of a male was found on the victim's body, the probe report said.
However, Investigation Officer Abul Hasan did not take any steps to conduct a DNA test on the lone accused, Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir.
In his probe report submitted to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka on July 19, Hasan said it is not reasonable to collect and test the samples of a suspect's DNA solely on the basis of the complainant's allegations without any supporting evidence.
In the report, the investigator, also officer-in-charge of Gulshan Police Station, urged the court to relieve the lone accused of the charges of instigating the college student's death by suicide.
The case was a "matter of factual error" as no evidence against Anvir was found in the investigation, the probe report said.
However, advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, an expert on criminal law, told The Daily Star, "As the presence of male DNA was found on the victim's body in DNA test, the investigator should have taken steps to conduct a DNA test of the accused.
"As the accused's DNA test was not done, the probe remains incomplete," he observed.
The hearing on whether the probe report will be accepted was not held yesterday, as was scheduled, because regular activities of courts remain suspended due to the ongoing lockdown, said an employee of the General Recording Office (GRO) at the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court.
A fresh date will be set for the hearing after regular court activities resume, the employee added.
While talking to this newspaper yesterday, the victim's elder sister, also the plaintiff in the case, said they will file a no-confidence petition with the court against the probe report.
She claimed that she received no cooperation from law enforcers in connection with the case and was not informed about the probe report before its submission.
"I will go to the highest court for justice," she added.
Her lawyer Sarwar Hossain claimed that there were indications of rape and murder but the investigation officer did not probe it properly.
Sarwar alleged that the IO showed gross irresponsibility while investigating the case and eventually submitted a report with a plea to discharge the accused of the charges.
She said photos of the accused and the deceased were hung on the walls of the latter's bedroom and the whole flat was full of such photographs.
"The texts and call records in her two phones showed that she expressed her frustration about the relationship. Also, the social barriers to their relationship bear strong evidence of instigating my sister's death," said the victim's elder sister.
She added that police said they found CCTV footage of the accused visiting her sister's flat before April 26.
On that day, police recovered the body of the 21-year-old college student hanging from the ceiling fan of her bedroom in Gulshan.
After the case was filed, the court issued a ban on the accused from travelling abroad after the IO filed an application for it on April 27.
Two days after the body of the college student was recovered, Sudip Chakrabarty, the then deputy commissioner (Gulshan division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said they found six diaries of the college student, which contained crucial evidence supporting the allegations of abetting suicide against the accused.
"The victim's utter frustration and mental breakdown are reflected in her diaries, which we have seized. Her writings will be important evidence," the DC had told reporters at his office.
Sudip Chakrabarty said, "... she wrote [in the diary] about their relationship, the social barriers to recognition of the relationship, her expectation of a happy conjugal life with the accused and the barriers from his family."