The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police have submitted the final charge sheet in the case filed over Maldivian model Raudha Athif’s death.
The CID report says it was a case of suicide, echoing the previous reports submitted by the local police and the Detective Branch (DB). However, Raudha’s father Mohamed Athif, a doctor, hotly disputes the law enforcement agency reports, pointing out numerous inconsistencies and calling it a “murder cover-up.”
Asmaul Huq, the case’s investigating officer, said they have submitted all their findings, which stated that Raudha committed suicide out of heartbreak and depression. The CID report claims Raudha was dating another Maldivian called Shahi Gani, who was living in London. They broke up the night she died, according to the CID report. The CID report also relieves Seerat Parveen, a Kashmiri girl who was a close friend to Raudha and prime accused in the murder case filed by her father, from the investigation.
On Tuesday evening, Dr Athif said everything he pointed out simply ascertains that it was a murder which was being covered up by the college authorities. He said he will contest the police charge sheet.
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IO Asmaul Huq said the investigation was carried out with no bias and considering both murder and suicide.
A series of inconsistencies
The circumstances of Raudha’s death were shrouded in mystery. Mohamed Athif stated the ligature marks on her neck resembled homicidal strangulation than hanging. The deep impressions on her neck, which police and the autopsy report called “birthmarks,” he identified them as fingerprints and further evidence of a struggle.
Furthermore, the initial report of “unnatural death” filed by the local police was rejected by the court on grounds of not following due process. When the case was transferred to the DB, the court again rejected their “suicide report” right around the time Raudha’s father accused her classmate Seerat Parveen of being involved in her murder.
The case was then transferred to the CID who noted several things. Firstly, the fan from which Raudha reportedly “hung herself from” did not show any signs of stress which would be consistent with having heavy weight hanging from it. Secondly, he said the latch on Raudha’s door was not secure and would come loose if it was pounded on heavily. However, Mohamed Athif claims he pounded on the door several times, but found the latch tightly sealed.
Also Read- Australian journos investigating Raudha murder allegedly forced out of Bangladesh
The mystery is further exacerbated by the fact that Raudha’s Instagram account was active even the day after his death. It was abruptly deactivated the day after. Her account was accessed by someone, a loose end that remains to be addressed. Furthermore, she had called her mother two weeks before her death, informing her of Seerat offering her a drink which made her pass out. According to Raudha’s parents, Raudha suspected Seerat of hacking her social media accounts and invading her privacy.
Furthermore, the CCTV camera outside Raudha’s room was “malfunctioning” on the night of her death. It became “functional” the day after. Of note, the first autopsy was conducted by a three-member team, two of whom were full-time faculty members at Islami Bank Medical College & Hospital where Raudha was studying and found dead. The third member of the team was a part-time faculty. After the autopsy, two of them were transferred out from the district.
The second autopsy, after ordered by Rajshahi Metropolitan Court, was delayed for over a week. It was conducted on April 24. But the findings were not published till August 9.
The second autopsy report claimed the body was too decomposed to verify the cause of death.
In late September, an Australian team of TV journalists came to Bangladesh to investigate Raudha’s murder. The 60 Minutes team from CBS interviewed the college staff, spoke to the police and her father. But an errant question “what if the autopsy report was wrong?” resulted in them being confined to their hotel, their passports seized, and escorted out of Rajshahi after 24 hours.