Md Shukkur Shah, 30, owner of a laundry shop at Hazaribagh, walked out of Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj last evening
In the wake of Jahalam’s grueling three-year wrongful imprisonment, another victim of mistaken identity was released from jail, not before serving 11 months after getting mired in a drug case.
Md Shukkur Shah, 30, owner of a laundry shop at Hazaribagh, walked out of Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj last evening. He was serving a jail sentence in place of one Shukkur Ali, 37.
A Dhaka court had noticed it and ordered the former’s immediate release.
The court highlighted negligence on part of the police and rebuked the officials responsible for the blunder, but did not award any punishment for them.
A court source said it might come up with the order later.
Police sought an unconditional apology, saying the blunder was committed as both their names and father’s names were similar. It was done “on good faith” as they did not crosscheck the information which was provided by a landlord.
Judge ASM Ruhul Imran of Dhaka Special Court 2 also expressed his annoyance over Anti Corruption Commission lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol, who walked into the courtroom and defended the cops, despite not having any connection with the case or trial process.
What brought Shukkur’s bad luck?
Shukkur Ali, 37, was under trial at Dhaka Seventh Joint Metro Session Court in a drug related case which was filed on February 27, 2011 with Shahbagh Police Station.
The accused secured bail from the court June 20, 2012. He appeared before the court on a number of case proceeding dates later. But from April 3, 2013 he started skipping the hearing dates and disappeared.
The court on the same day issued an arrest warrant against him, who used to reside at the capital’s Hazaribagh area.
The then-Sub Inspector Shariful Islam of Hazaribagh police station, who was assigned by the OC to find him out, failed and submitted a report before the court in July 2014.
He quoted Shukkur Ali’s landlord, who said Shukkur had vacated the rented house after getting bail and fled.
The nightmare for Shukkur Shah thus began from June 12, 2018.
Shukkur Shah was accused in another drug case and already behind bars since March 2018 and he had secured bail in June that year.
Despite completing all formalities to be released from jail, Shukkur Shah was sent back behind bars after Sub Inspector Md Mominul Haque of Hazaribagh police station made the mistake of identifying him for Shukkur Ali, who had an arrest warrant over him.
SI Mominul had shown Shukkur Shah arrested in the 2011 drug case instead of Shukkur Ali, the actual convict.
Shah and his lawyer were left in utter dismay when they found out Shukkur (Shah) was shown arrested in a case which was not related to him in any way.
How Shah’s blunder unfolded
Shah’s lawyer then informed the court and prayed for issuance of a production warrant to produce Shukkur Ali before the court.
Interestingly, the jail authorities produced Shukkur Shah before it for several times as Shukkur Ali.
On January 30 this year, an inspector of the Department of Narcotics Control, who was the original complainant of the 2011 drug case filed against the absconding Shukkur Ali, came to the court to testify as a witness.
After his deposition, the court asked to identify Shukkur Ali on the dock. The complainant get shocked seeing another person [Shukkhur Shah] on the dock instead of Shukkur Ali.
The court expressed its disappointment over the police’s role in the case of mistaken identities, asking them to explain their failure.
They submitted their explanation on Tuesday where the cops sought unconditional apologies.
OC Md Ikram Ali Mia told the court that Shukkur Shah’s landlord Shamsher Ali identified him as Shukkur Ali which caused the original blunder. “Both their fathers’ name is Kashem,” they pleaded.
The court said that the cops showed negligence by not verifying the information with due diligence.
Shukkhur Ali’s father’s name is Kashem Ali, while the other’s father’s is Late Kashem Shah.
“This should have been noticed. You are all working for the government. You are not paid by taxpayers money for committing this type of negligence,” the court said.