RAB made the sensational revelation at a press conference held at its media centre in Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar on Sunday afternoon
Former officer-in-charge (OC) of Teknaf police station Pradeep Kumar Das and his colleagues killed retired army major Sinha Md Rashed Khan as he had learned of Pradeep’s illegal activities, including links to the cross-border drug trade from Myanmar, investigators said.
Pradeep and his associates planned Sinha’s murder in a secret meeting at the police station, as they feared the retired major would leak the information. Sinha had been asked to stop digging, but he refused, according to Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)
RAB (legal and media wing) Director Lt Col Ashique Billah revealed the information during a press briefing in Dhaka on Sunday, after the submission of the charge sheet in the case to the Cox's Bazar Senior Judicial Magistrate Court.
Earlier in the day, Md Khairul Islam, assistant superintendent of police and investigation officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet to the Cox's Bazar court. The case was filed by Sharmin Shahriar Ferdous, the elder sister of Major (retd) Sinha.
After a brief hearing, the court accepted the charge sheet.
RAB also filed a petition before a court to exempt Sinha’s companions Shipra Debnath and Shahedul Sifat from three cases over obstructing police from discharging duties.
Meanwhile, Cox's Bazar District and Sessions Judge Md Ismail rejected the revision petition challenging the validity of the case against Pradeep, as it did not appear admissible following a hearing, confirmed the plaintiff’s lawyer Md Jahangir.
On the night of July 31, Sinha was shot dead by police at the Shamlapur check post on Marine Drive in Teknaf's Baharchhara area.
Sinha found out Pradeep’s links to the drug trade
In mid-July, Pradeep threatened Sinha at Teknaf police station when they met over the retired army official’s findings on Pradeep’s drug trade links.
Sinha had come across information on Pradeep’s links to the drug trade while shooting a video for his YouTube channel. Locals provided the tip-off and described how Pradeep used to oppress them, said Lt Col Ashiq Billah.
Pradeep asked Sinha to leave Teknaf and threatened to destroy him if he did not, the RAB official added.
However, Sinha continued collecting information, leading Pradeep to plan the murder in a secret a meeting with Baharchhara Investigation Centre's Inspector Liaqat Ali and three informants.
RAB said Sinha was shot around 9:25pm. Pradeep went to the spot and took the body to the hospital to maintain formalities.
The other accused at the scene attempted to place the blame on Sinha.
When asked if RAB had examined the information Sinha stored on his digital devices, the RAB director said that there was no need to examine them.
Regarding evidence of Sinha’s meeting with Pradeep at the police station, the RAB official said no footage of Teknaf police station could be found due to technical faults.
The charge sheet
Charges are being pressed against 15 people—Pradeep, Liaqat, Sub-inspector Nandadulal Rakshit and constables Safanur Karim, Abdullah Al Mamun and Mohammad Mostafa; Armed Police Battalion's Sub-inspector Mohammad Shahjahan and constables Md Rajib and Mohammad Abdullah; Teknaf police station's constables Rubel Sharma and Sagar Deb; and three villagers of Maroshbunia village – Nurul Amin, Mohammad Ayaz and Nejamuddin.
Among them, 14 are behind bars and Constable Sagar Deb is on the run. Inspector Liaqat's team had taken over the check-post from the three APBn officers before they stopped Sinha’s car and shot him to death.
After the killing, Pradeep informed Superintendent of Police in Cox's Bazar ABM Masud Hossain over the phone. The record of the phone call was later leaked on social media.
Lt Col Ashique Billah said SP Masud Hossain has not been formally indicted, but RAB has recommended departmental action against him.
He said: “SP Masud was negligent in duty. He did not visit the spot and did not take action against Pradeep even though he was running illegal acts for a long time.”
On September 16, the Home Ministry transferred the SP to Rajshahi. Sinha’s elder sister pleaded to the court to make the SP an accused in the murder case, but the court turned it down.
No proof of narcotics charges against Sinha’s co-workers
Investigators have found no proof of police’s narcotics charges against Stamford University students Shipra Debnath and Shahedul Sifat.
RAB officer Biman Chandra Karmakar has submitted the final report to a Cox's Bazar court, said Faridul Alam, a public prosecutor.
Sifat and Shipra, students of the Film and Media Department of Stamford University, were Sinha’s team members for his documentary film project.
Sifat was with Sinha during the murder and police arrested him. They arrested Shipra from Nilima Resort in Himchhari.
Police claimed they found drugs in the car and at Nilima resort.