Sinha murder trial halted due to Covid lockdown
The trial proceed-ings in the Maj (retd) Sinha Rashed Khan murder case remain halted due to the pandemic-induced lockdown.
The witnesses in the case were scheduled to testify on July 26, 27 and 28. But due to the lockdown restrictions, judicial proceedings in the Cox's Bazar District and Sessions Judge's Court like other courts across the country have been suspended. That is why, no witnesses' statements were recorded in the case on the scheduled dates, said public prosecutor of the court.
On this day, on July 31, last year, Sinha Md Rashed Khan died in police firing at an APBn check point on the Cox's-Teknaf highway.
He was shooting videos for his YouTube channel at the village of Marishbunia right before he was shot. He had been residing in the area for a month for filming.
On August 5, Sinha's elder sister Sharmin Shahriar Ferdous filed a murder case accusing nine people, including Pradeep Kumar Das, then officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, Liaqat Ali, an inspector of the same police station, SI Nandadulal Rakshit and several others with Teknaf Senior Judicial Magistrate Court.
Later, the Rapid Action Battalion was tasked with the investigation.
On December 13 last year, the Rab investigators submitted a charge sheet of the case to a Cox's Bazar court accusing 15 people. They found that the murder was pre-planned.
On June 27, the court framed charges against 15 accused, including former OC Pradeep and suspended inspector Liaqat, under section 302, 201, 109, 114, 120-B and 34 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The court then set July 26 to 28 for recording statements of the witnesses. According to court sources, the first 10 witnesses in the murder case were scheduled to testify on the consecutive days.
All the 15 accused are in jail now.
Faridul Alam, public prosecutor of Cox's Bazar District and Sessions Judge's Court, told The Daily Star that no witnesses' statements were recorded on the scheduled dates.
"Eighty-three people were named in the charge sheet as witnesses. Once the normal proceedings of the court begin, other judicial proceedings, including recording of witness statement, in the case will continue as usual," he said.
After the incident, Teknaf police claimed that they tried to search the vehicle of Sinha, but the former army official aimed his pistol at them, prompting them to shoot in self-defence.
They also claimed that they recovered drugs from the vehicle.
However, witnesses gave different accounts of the incident. They said Sinha got down from his car, put his hands over his head, and then the police members shot him.
Sinha's family termed the incident a cold-blooded murder and launched the legal battle seeking justice.
Sinha's associates Shipra Debnath and Shahedul Islam Sifat were acquitted of the narcotics cases filed against them by the police following Sinha's killing.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission has submitted a charge sheet to a Chattogram court in a case filed against former OC Pradeep and his wife Chumki Karon for reportedly amassing wealth of about Tk 2.36 crore from unknown sources and hiding information about their wealth of about Tk 59.59 lakh.
ACC's Assistant Director Riaz Uddin, also the investigation officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet to the court of Chattogram Senior Metropolitan Sessions Judge Sheikh Ashfaqur Rahaman on Monday, said ACC prosecutor Mahmudul Hoque Mahmud.
However, no date has been fixed forthe hearing on the charge sheet as the court proceedings are suspended due to the lockdown, the prosecutor added.