From child prostitution to drug dealing – Rokon Uddin was well immersed in crime
He brought in underage children under the pretence of hiring them as domestic helps. He forcefully drugged them. Then he forced them to have sex with adult men.
This is how award-winning Armed Police Battalion (APBn) Sub-Inspector Rokon Uddin Bhuiyan, with the help of his partner in crime Rima Begum, ran his child prostitution business in their flat.
The horrific revelation came in the first hand account of one of their victims recorded with a Sylhet court on Sunday.
“A month ago, a relative of mine took me to Rima Apu’s house saying they would hire me for domestic work,” the child, 12, told Judge Md Mamunur Rahman Siddiqui of Sylhet Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court 2. Rokon daroga [colloquial Bangla term for police officer] is Rima Apu’s husband.
“The day after I was taken to their house, they forced me to take a tablet [yaba pill], and then to take my clothes off. Then they forced themselves on me.”
The same night, Rokon and Rima brought in four other men and forced the child to have sex with them too.
“There was another child in the house with me. Rokon had sex with her then.”
This is what the two children endured for a month before they were rescued by a team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Saturday.
In her statement, the child further said she and the other victim, who is 13 years old, would be forced to take the pills every day, and then would be sold to five or six customers throughout the day.
For satisfying each customer, she would get Tk500.
“They [Rokon and Rima] took videos of us, and threatened to spread our videos if we refused to listen to them. They even threatened to hand us over to police,” the 12-year-old said.Besides the two children, the diabolic duo also brought in other women from outside to sell them to customers.
“They sent us to parties at night, and sometimes to hotels too,” the child told the court.
Rokon and Rima had a fully-fledged drug trade as well. “They used to sell tablets [yaba pills]. Rima’s brother Nazmul sells yaba too.”
Rokon, 40, and Rima, 35, were arrested from their flat in the Dariapara area, Sylhet on Saturday night.
Two cases have been filed against Rokon and Rima – one under the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012, and the other under the Narcotics Control Act, 2018 – with the Sylhet Kotwali police station on Sunday.
The duo were sent to jail by Sylhet Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Abul Kashem on Sunday.
Sub-Inspector Monirul Islam of Sylhet Kotwali police station, who is investigating the cases, has filed a petition to place the duo on remand for five days. The court has yet to hear the petition.
Speaking to reporters, RAB 9 Additional Superintendent of Police (Media) Md Moniruzzaman said the team raided Rokon’s flat on a tip-off and arrested the couple, who claimed to be married.
That is when RAB rescued the two young girls. They also recovered 37 blue and 23 pink yaba pills, and Tk137,422 in cash from the flat.
The two children were placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services on Sunday, after their statement was recorded.
Rokon has been suspended from his post. The APBn has formed a three-member probe committee headed by Additional Superintendent of Police Joynal Abedin of the 7 APBn. The committee submitted their report, which found the charges against Rokon to be true, to the captain of 7 APBn on Tuesday.
From winning awards to pimping
When Rokon Uddin started his career in police, he became a star member fast.
He joined police in 1998 as a constable, while he was still in college. Soon after he was transferred to the Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP), he earned the title “Tiger Rokon” because of his dedication and hard work in combating crime in the city.Because of his stellar performance, he won 71 awards.
However, a few years ago, his behaviour began to change – he became reckless and out of control. His colleagues soon found out that he had become an addict.
Rokon got involved in drug dealing and prostitution to pay for his addiction, said several co-workers of his.
The SMP authorities arranged for his counselling, which seemed to work for a while.
“He seemed to be getting better. But then he went to a UN peacekeeping mission, and reverted to his old habits,” said one of his colleagues, requesting anonymity.
Due to his notorious reputation, Rokon was attached with the APBn in April 2018. He was also promoted from constable to sub-inspector. During his service, one major and 28 minor charges were brought against him.
On December 1, 2018, Rokon rented the flat in Dariapara, for which he did not provide any proof of identification. Rokon and Rima identified themselves as a married couple and said they had two children.
“They frequently had one or two male guests coming to their flat,” said Aftab Miah, the security guard at the building where Rokon lived. “The always said they were Sir’s [Rokon’s] guests. They would only be allowed entry after Sir spoke with them on mobile phone.”
The security guard further said they had seen two young girls go to the grocers in the neighbourhood sometimes. He had never seen Rokon in his uniform.
Sources in SMP said they suspected Rokon ran brothels in the city’s Kumarpara and Lamabazar areas as well.