Trying to prove his innocence, SM Rahat cast doubts on Ariful’s remarks and attempted to deny his involvement in the incident
The probe committee formed by the Ministry of Public Administration has successfully completed the second day of its investigation into the illegal arrest, torture and punishment of Ariful Islam, the Kurigram district correspondent of Dhaka Tribune.
The three-member probe body, led by Joint Secretary Amena Begum, on Thursday continued from where it had left off on Wednesday.
The committee asked Ariful to recollect the March 14 incident and the roles played by former Kurigram deputy commissioner Sultana Parveen, former revenue collector Nazim Uddin, former assistant commissioners Rintu Bikash Chakma and SM Rahatul Islam.
After recording Ariful’s statement, the probe committee granted former assistant commissioner SM Rahatul Islam the opportunity to present his explanation of the incident.
Trying to prove his innocence, SM Rahat cast doubts on Ariful’s remarks and attempted to deny his involvement in the incident.
Rahat stated that anyone who entered the jail superintendent’s room needed to sign a register beforehand. He challenged Ariful to show any evidence that could prove his presence in the jail super’s room on the night in question.
However, members of the probe body dismissed his remarks on account of the incongruity in them.
In his statement, Ariful Islam said: “I have presented every aspect of the defendants’ presence and involvement as much as I can recollect from that night through my statement and with sufficient evidence.
“Now the investigation committee will decide what to do about the matter. I have full respect for the jurisdiction of the committee and I know justice will be served irrespective of the defendants’ positions.”
On March 14, a mobile court of Kurigram district administration, led by the three assistant commissioners, convicted and sentenced Ariful, the Kurigram correspondent of Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune, to a year’s imprisonment, after he was arrested from his home, on charges of possession of narcotics.
Earlier the same night, Ariful and his family members were about to go to sleep when some Ansar members, accompanied by Nazim Uddin, Rintu Bikash Chakma and Rahatul Islam, broke into their home and subjected Ariful to beatings and torture. Later at around 1:30am on March 14, Ariful was sent to jail.