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CRAB wants PBI or RAB to probe journalist Moazzem’s death

  • Published at 11:07 pm June 15th, 2020
Moazzem Hossain Nannu
File photo of Moazzem Hossain Nannu Collected

The CRAB investigation committee is expected to submit an application to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed regarding their demands on Tuesday

Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh (CRAB) has urged the government to instruct the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) or the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to investigate the death of senior journalist Moazzem Hossain Nannu.

The association floated the demand at a meeting of its executive committee on Monday at its office.

CRAB also formed a nine-member investigation committee, headed by senior journalist Aminur Rahman Taj, to look further into the incident of Daily Jugantor journalist Nannu dying after sustaining fatal burn injuries in a fire that broke out at his house on Friday.

Earlier on January 2, just six months ago, the journalist's son Shapnil Ahmed Piash, 24, also died in a fire incident reportedly caused by a short circuit in the same house.

The CRAB investigation committee is expected to submit an application to Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed regarding their demands on Tuesday.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Aminur Rahman Taj, said: “Just like Nannu, his only son Piash also died from a fire that broke out in the same room of the same house, on the same weekday during midnight [Thursday midnight] six months ago. 

“This is unbelievable and mysterious. Thus we want a proper investigation of his death. We think PBI or RAB will be the best fit for this investigation. Besides, we, the journalists, will try to unravel this mystery through our professional way.”

Nannu, a former general secretary of CRAB, succumbed to his burn injuries while undergoing treatment at the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka on Saturday.

Nannu's wife Pallabi told Dhaka Tribune that Nannu returned home from the newspaper office around 1:30am on Friday.

She said their son's room mostly remained closed since he passed away, but she and her husband would go to the room from time to time to relive his memories.

"Coming home from work, Nannu opened their son's room at 3:30am. As soon as he pressed the switch to turn on the light, a loud explosion took place." 

Immediately, burnt Nannu went to the bathroom and took a bath. He had tried to douse the fire himself, but their neighbours came and rescued him before rushing him to the hospital, Pallabi said.

She also said sometimes the smell of gas could be found in the flat.

Gas mechanics were brought in several days ago and they checked the line four times. They said the gas could have formed in the bathroom commode.

She also said that they had smelt gas for the last few days in the apartment, but technicians confirmed that cooking gas line ok but might be smelt coming from the bathroom commode. 

However, in the GD that Pallabi filed with Badda police station regarding the matter, she said that Nannu had come home around 3:30am on the day of the incident.

Amid all the speculations, Nannu’s colleagues pointed out that as he left his office for home around 12am on Friday and it hardly takes 10 to 15 minutes to reach his house where was he for the rest of the time as his wife in GD filed claimed that he had reached home around 3:30am.

“Was this an accident or a murder? The bathroom and kitchen of Nannu’s house weren’t damaged by the fire and his wife didn’t get injured at all,” they added.

Contacted, Sudeep Kumar Chakraborty, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Gulshan Division, said: “We found contradictory statements over the fire incident that killed Nannu. Thus we, along with other detective units, have started investigating the matter in different ways. 

“Although, CID’s crime scene unit is yet to scan Nannu’s flat as his wife is currently in Jessore for his burial. However, after we contacted her, she said that the keys to Nannu’s flat have been sent to Dhaka and we will soon get it.”

The senior journalist was also the executive member of Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU). 

Nannu had previously worked at the daily Ajker Kagoj, then Jugantar for a long time, then at Global television before lastly joining Jugantor again.

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