Sagar-Runi Murder: Solve case or admit failure
It's another year of frustration and disappointment for the families and colleagues of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi.
Even though 11 years have gone by, no headway has been made in cracking the mystery behind the double murder, currently being investigated by Rab.
After the journalist couple was killed on this day in 2012, then home minister Sahara Khatun had vowed to catch the killers in 48 hours.
But over the decade, the investigation officer was changed six times, and the Rab and other agencies have taken 95 dates from court to complete the probe. But they have not been able to submit the probe report.
Family members of the victims are now demanding that the Rab either solve the case quickly or admit their failure and hand over the investigation to another agency.
"They [Rab] are actually doing nothing. I have doubts on their sincerity in ensuring justice," said Runi's brother Nowsher Alam Roman, who filed the double murder case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station.
"There might be an instruction from top bodies of the government not to solve the mystery of the murder. I don't know why," he said.
Roman said investigation officers often contacted him, but they failed to give any answer when asked about the probe progress.
He said they were gradually losing hopes of getting justice.
Sagar Sarowar, news editor at private TV channel Maasranga, and Meherun Runi, a senior reporter at ATN Bangla, were killed in the early hours of February 11, 2012, at their rented flat in the capital's West Rajabazar.
The couple's only child Mahir Sarowar Megh, only five at the time, was in the flat.
Megh, now 16, hasstarted to enquire about the murder of his parents, Roman said.
Megh used to live with his grandmother Nurun Nahar Mirza, but she passed away on January 15 last year, at the age of 64.
After Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station and the Detective Branch of police failed to solve the case, Rab was tasked with the probe on April 18, 2012.
At least eight suspects, including Rafiqul Islam, Bakul Miah, Masum Mintu, Kamrul Islam alias Arun, Abu Sayeed, two security guards of the couple's house Palash Rudra Paul and Enayet Ahmed, and the couple's "friend" Tanveer Rahman Khan were arrested after the killing.
Tanveer and Palash are now on bail. The rest are behind bars.
Rab IO Khandaker Md Shafiqul Alam is the seventh investigation officer in the case. He was given the job on July 4, 2019.
A Rab source said DNA samples of 25 people were sent to Independent Forensic Service (IFS) in the US, but the test results there failed to come up anything concrete.
Runi's brother Roman said thinks DNA tests are simply an eyewash to waste time.
On January 4 this year, the Rab official once again failed to submit the probe report and then again applied for time extension. The court then set march 5 for the submission.
Earlier, two separate courts expressed dissatisfaction over the probe, and the investigators' failure to unearth the motive behind the murders and arrest the real culprits.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Thursday said the Rab would be instructed to provide the updates on the probe without any delay.
"We also want the mystery behind the killings to be unravelled as soon as possible," he said while talking to Dhaka Reporters Unity leaders at the Secretariat.
The DRU leaders met him to submit a memorandum, demanding a speedy trial in the killings of the journalist couple.
"We cannot deliver judgment, but we can provide a probe report. We've been attempting for years. We also want this mystery to be solved … I'm forwarding DRU's message to the Rab DG. I'll give them the order to say something soon," said the minister.
DRU expressed disappointment in the memorandum that the law enforcers could not identify the perpetrators or unearth any motive behind the killings even after 11 years.
It stated that Sagar-Runi's family and the entire journalist community have become outraged for not getting justice.
"As we have seen, law enforcement agencies have uncovered major murder mysteries; criminals have been brought to justice. We don't believe they cannot solve the Sagar-Runi murder case," added the memorandum.