RAB gets seven days to interrogate the prime suspects in the case started by the slain army officer's family
A Cox’s Bazar court has remanded three police officers over the killing of retired Bangladesh Army Major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan in a reported police firing.
Teknaf police station’s Officer-in-Charge (OC) Pradeep Kumar Das, Baharchhara police outpost’s Inspector Liakat Ali and Sub-Inspector Nanda Dulal Rakkhit have been placed on a seven-day remand.
The court of the Senior Judicial Magistrate passed the order on Thursday after the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) sought a 10-day remand for the suspects.
It has also allowed the RAB to interrogate four other policemen — Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Liton Miah and Constables Safanur Karim, Kamal Hossain and Abdullah Al Mamun — at the jail gate.
However, the RAB’s Legal and Media Wing Director Lt Col Ashik Billah told the media in Dhaka that the court has remanded all of the seven policemen.
Earlier in the day, the same court turned down bail petitions of the seven policemen and sent them to jail following their surrender.
Soon after the court’s order, the RAB moved a petition to take custody of the suspects for interrogation.
The case initiated by Sinha’s family accused two others— ASI Tutul and Constable Mostofa. However, defence counsel Md Zakaria said that there were no policemen posted at the Baharchhara police outpost by those names.
Earlier in the day, Pradeep Kumar Das, who has been withdrawn from duty, was taken into custody by Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) in the port city.
“The police officer [Pradeep] came to Chittagong Dampara Police Line Hospital for treatment where he was taken into custody,” CMP Additional Commissioner Amena Begum told Dhaka Tribune.
Police arrived in the Cox’s Bazar court with Pradeep at around 5pm after Liakat and the other suspects were taken there 30 minutes earlier.
Security was beefed up in and around the court ahead of the policemen’s appearance with a large number of journalists and visitors crowding the premises.
Late on Wednesday, the Teknaf police station lodged the murder case filed by the slain army officer’s family following an order by the Cox’s Bazar’s Senior Judicial Magistrate.
The court also ordered the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to investigate the case and file a report within seven working days.
Sinha’s sister Sharmin Shahria Firdaus named Liakat and Pradeep as the prime suspects in the case.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday assured the mother of Major Sinha of a proper investigation into the murder of her son, saying that the perpetrators would be brought to justice.
Army and police to jointly conduct patrols
Following the killing of retired Major Sinha, the army and police have decided to patrol Cox’s Bazar’s Marine Drive jointly from now on.
The army and police chiefs issued necessary instructions to their respective forces over the incident, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a media statement yesterday.
The decision was taken in order to restore normalcy in the area and bring back the trust of the public in the security forces, it said.
In a joint press conference on Wednesday in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh Army chief General Aziz Ahmed and Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed described the killing of retired Major Sinha was an “isolated incident” and that it would not create a rift between the two forces.
Both the army and the police expressed grievance over the murder and condemned the incident. The police force assured the army that this was the last time such an incident would ever take place.
Where are Sinha’s crew members?
Shahedul Islam Sifat, Shipra Rani Debnath and Tahsin Rifat Noor -- students of Stamford University’s film and media studies department -- were the crew members of Major (retd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan’s team.
Sifat, who was with Sinha at the time of the incident, was arrested right after the killing of the former army major and sent to jail in a case filed by police.
Following this, Shipra and Rifat were held by police over allegations of storing liquor and marijuana in their rooms at Himchhari’s Nilima Resort.
However, the next day, Rifat was handed over to his relatives but Shipra was shown arrested and sent to jail in a narcotics case.
How the major was killed
On Friday night, Sinha was killed in police firing on Cox's Bazar Marine Drive.
According to the case statement, Baharchhara Check-post In-Charge Liakat and SI Nanda Dulal Rakkhit challenged the retired major Sinha and his associate -- who were visiting the area to shoot a documentary.
Sinha and his associate, Sifat, a videographer, were dragged off their vehicle despite providing their respective identities. The police officers then fired at Sinha, killing him on the spot.
After the murder, the police officers also filed two false cases against Sinha and others to frame them as drug dealers, said Sharmin Shahria Firdaus, Sinha’s sister.
“Not only did they kill my brother, but they have also mutilated his body to make him unrecognizable,” added the plaintiff of the case.
On Wednesday night, OC Pradeep was withdrawn from duty as the officer-in-charge of Teknaf police station over the incident.
Two people were arrested and two separate cases were filed in this regard, Superintendent of Police ABM Masud Hossain said on Saturday.
The authorities on Sunday also suspended 16 police officers, including the in-charge of Baharchhara police outpost, Inspector Liakat.
A high-level investigation committee formed by Home Ministry is investigating the murder.