Torture of 4 men in custody: Police probe finds addl SP, OC guilty
An investigation has found evidence that an additional superintendent of police and an inspector had physically tortured four men in custody at a police station in Shariatpur last year.
According to the investigation report submitted to a Shariatpur court, police officers Rasel Monir and Sheikh Md Mostafizur Rahman tortured the men with a stick, hammer, and pliers at Padma Bridge South Police Station.
"There is evidence that the injuries on the victims' bodies were received while they were in police custody," reads the 19-page report written by Mahbubul Alam, superintendent of police in Shariatpur.
According to medical reports by government doctors, there were numerous injury marks on the four men's bodies, including face and fingers and toes.
In May last year when the incident took place, Rasel was an additional SP in the district and Mostafizur was the OC of Padma Bridge South Police Station.
Even though SP Alam submitted the 19-page report to the Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court of Shariatpur in October, the court has yet to take it into cognizance.
Moreover, a letter mentioning that the accused officers and the four men are willing to settle the matter was recently submitted to the court by the victims, said Mejbah Uddin Ahmed, a court inspector.
The court may issue an order in this regard at the next hearing of the case on March 10.
A family member of the victims, three of whom are related, said they were facing pressure to settle the matter.
Contacted, SP Alam said, "We submitted the probe report to the court, and it is up to the court to decide what happens next."
Without disclosing further details, he said, "I have found that the complaints against the officers are true to some extent."
This newspaper has seen a part of the probe report.
The victims, Bakul Chowkdar, Saddam Chowkdar, Anowar Chowkdar, and Saidul Shaikh, were arrested on May 30 last year on charges of robbing two men.
Officers Rasel and Mostafizur face charges under the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act in a case recorded by the court on June 7. The court accepted the statements of the four men and directed the Shariatpur SP to probe the matter and take action if the officers are found guilty.
Asked why the court has not acknowledged the probe report, Public Prosecutor Mirza Hazrat Ali said he would not make comments on the "sensational" case.
Of the victims, only Bakul could be contacted by these correspondents. He said he would not comment on the matter.
His father Rashid Chowkdar said, "Some influential people of Shariatpur are pressuring us to enter a negotiation. But we have not settled it with anyone yet."
He added that his son was tortured in custody because he failed to meet the cops' demand for a large sum of money.
Three of the victims are involved in farming while Anwar is a migrant worker in Malaysia.
Accused officers Rasel is now attached to the range Deputy Inspector General Office in Chattogram and Mostafizur to the range DIG office in Barishal. They will face departmental actions, police sources said.
Neither of the two could be reached for comment.
[Our Shariatpur correspondent contributed to this report.]