Nayeem Ashraf, one of the key suspects in the notorious Banani rape case, is not who he makes himself out to be.
Two women have filed rape charges against Nayeem and four others. According to the case statement, the women were raped on March 28 in a hotel in Banani.
Reports from his uncle Moazzem Hossain, distant in-law and local UP Chairman Ashraful Alam, and ex-wife, paint a picture that shows him to be a man comfortable playing a long con.
Moazzem said: “His real name is Abdul Halim. He is the son of my brother Amzad Hossain and his wife Saleha Khatun from the village of Gandail, Kazipara, Sirajganj. Amzad is a humble farmer and Saleha a day labour.”
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The three rape accused - Nayeem Ashraf, Shafat Ahmed and Shadman Sakif - pose for a photo on April 14 Collected
“I believe Halim first started using the pseudonym Nayeem after he moved to Dhaka in 2004,” added Ashraful Alam.
Also Read- Nayeem Ashraf – ‘Liar, cheat, and fraud’
What led to his relocation?
Nayeem alias Halim had struck up a whirlwind romance with a girl from Bogra Polytechnic Institute after passing his SSC exams. Chairman Ashraful said Nayeem had lied to the girl and identified himself as belonging to the Bogra mayor’s family.
When the girl found out, her family charged Halim for deception and assaulted him, driving him out of town.
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Rape accused Nayeem Ashraf poses with an unidentified government official on April 30 Collected
Halim came to Dhaka beaten, but not broken. His cunning mind conjured up a plan which could rival a criminal mastermind.
The Ashraf Connection
Halim assumed the name Nayeem Ashraf, who in reality is the son of Ashraful Alam – the upazila parishad chairman of Halim’s native village.
UP Chairman Ashraful Alam said: “His family did not have much. But over the past few months, he set up new houses in the village, which we found to be unusual.
“I was horrified when we found out he raped two girls. He is a liar, a cheat and a fraud. I demand he is given an exemplary punishment. It baffled me why he has not been arrested yet.”
Also Read- Shafaat had round-the-clock personal security
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Rape accused Nayeem Ashraf takes a photo with the Kolabagan Chhatra League unit on February 13, 2017 Collected
The chairman paused, and added: “I am related to him through my in-laws, I am ashamed to admit it. But he has to be brought to justice.”
Also Read- Shafaat spotted in Sylhet, police say he fled with his passport
Playing the long con
From 2004 to 2017, his swagger and demeanour helped set up hundreds, if not thousands of connections with influential people. Businessmen, politicians, media personalities, athletes, models and police officers became his trusted contacts.
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Nayeem Ashraf present Shafat Ahmed with flowers on March 28, the night when they allegedly raped the two women at The Raintree Dhaka Collected
He also began working at Ekushey Television. His actual designation at the channel remains unconfirmed, but he claimed to be a broadcast manager, according to his ex-wife.
Halim passed himself off as Nayeem, the son of UP Chairman Ashraf Ali whom he described to be a wealthy landowner from Sirajganj. He claimed to be BSc graduate, a wealthy entrepreneur and at times the son of an industrialist, according to his former mother-in-law.
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In this photo posted March 28, Nayeem Ashraf feed Shafat Ahmed cake on his birthday, at the birthday party where the women said they were raped Collected
Sometimes, he also introduced himself as the vice president of Awami Swechhasebak League’s Kazipara unit. And on various instances, he would say he was close friends with the son of Health Minister Mohammad Nasim, said Ashraful Alam.
He managed to acquire stakes in sheesha lounges, restaurants, event management firms.
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In this photo posted March 28, Nayeem Ashraf appears to be inside The Raintree Dhaka Collected
eMakers Bangladesh, an event management firm headed by Halim under his pseudonym was responsible for bringing to Bangladesh Indian artists like Arijit Singh and Neha Kakkar.
Also Read- Home minister says Banani rape accused will be arrested soon
Birds of a feather
It remains to be known exactly how or when Halim met Shafat Ahmed, another key suspect in the rape case. But they struck up a relationship whose extent was easily gauged.
Halim and Shafat became fast friends. Abundant photographic evidence of them together confirm they were as close as best friends could be. Halim and Shafat would party together, dine together, and engage in business ventures together.
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In this photo posted April 18, Nayeem and Shafat dine at the latter's home Collected
Halim referred to Shafat as “king” for his wealth that would frequently benefit his schemes. Several of Shafat’s classmates from ISD also confirmed he was a person who could be exploited.
Also Read- Rape accused and passport missing from Gulshan home
His media initiatives
A reporter confided to the Dhaka Tribune that Nayeem had set up News71.com in Mirpur DOHS, a local online news media.
Nayeem offered the reporter to join his staff and proposed an illicit offer. He told the reporter to investigate superstores in Dhaka and discover their irregularities and malpractices. Instead of publishing, Nayeem said he would blackmail the shops to extort money.
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This photo, posted April 4, shows Nayeem Ashraf with a political leader at a rally Collected
As of 2:50am, the district of Sirajganj is well-aware of Halim’s ventures as Nayeem Ashraf. Health Minister Mohammad Nasim himself asked the police to track him down and arrest him. Minister Nasim reiterated that Halim had never been part of any Awami League organisation, in spite of the many posters in the area which bear Halim’s name and face with Swechhasebak League credentials.
Nayeem Ashraf, along with Shafat Ahmed, Shadman Sakif and two others allegedly raped two women at The Raintree Dhaka hotel on the night of March 28. The two women filed a case on May 6. The accused have been on the run since.