Shahedul Islam Sifat and Shipra Rani Debnath let off
A court in Cox's Bazar has accepted a charge sheet against 15 accused in the murder case of retired army major Sinha Md Rashed Khan.
Judge Tamanna Farah of the Cox's Bazar Senior Judicial Magistrate Court took the charge sheet into cognizance on Monday and issued an arrest warrant for former Teknaf police station assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Sagar Deb.
The court also exempted Sinha's companions Shahedul Islam Sifat and Shipra Rani Debnath from the charges brought against them by police, said Cox's Bazar District and Sessions Judge Court Public Prosecutor Advocate Faridul Alam.
On December 13, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) submitted the charge sheet to the Cox's Bazar Senior Judicial Magistrate Court accusing 15 people, including suspended Teknaf police station officer-in-charge (OC) Pradeep Kumar Das.
On the night of July 31, Sinha was shot dead by police at the Shamlapur check post on Marine Drive in Teknaf's Baharchhara area.
On August 5, Sinha's elder sister Sharmin Shahriar Ferdous filed the murder case against nine people, including Pradeep, and suspended Baharchhara police outpost in-charge Inspector Liaqat Ali.
The case was handed over to RAB for investigation.
Why was Sinha murdered?
Former OC Pradeep Kumar Das and his colleagues killed Sinha as he had learned of Pradeep's illegal activities, including links to the cross-border drug trade from Myanmar, investigators said.
Pradeep and his associates planned Sinha's murder in a secret meeting at the police station, as they feared the retired major would leak the information. Sinha had been asked to stop digging, but he refused, according to RAB.
RAB (Legal and Media Wing) Director Lt Col Ashique Billah revealed the information during a press briefing in Dhaka on December 13, after the submission of the charge sheet.
In mid-July, Pradeep threatened Sinha at Teknaf police station when they met over the retired army official's findings on Pradeep's drug trade links.
Sinha had come across information on Pradeep's links to the drug trade while shooting a video for his YouTube channel. Locals provided the tip-off and described how Pradeep used to oppress them, said Ashique Billah.
Pradeep asked Sinha to leave Teknaf and threatened to destroy him if he did not, the RAB official added.
However, Sinha continued collecting information, leading Pradeep to plan the murder in a secret a meeting with Liaqat and three informants.
RAB said Sinha was shot around 9:25pm. Pradeep went to the spot and took the body to the hospital to maintain formalities.
The other accused at the scene attempted to put the blame on Sinha.
After the killing, Pradeep informed Cox's Bazar Superintendent of Police (SP) ABM Masud Hossain over the phone. The record of the phone call was later leaked on social media.
Ashique Billah said SP Masud Hossain has not been formally indicted, but RAB has recommended departmental action against him.
He said: "SP Masud was negligent in duty. He did not visit the spot and did not take action against Pradeep even though he was running illegal acts for a long time."
On September 16, the Home Ministry transferred the SP to Rajshahi. Sinha's elder sister pleaded to the court to make the SP an accused in the murder case, but the court turned it down.
No proof of narcotics charges against Sinha's co-workers
Investigators have found no proof of police's narcotics charges against Stamford University students Shipra and Sifat.
RAB officer Biman Chandra Karmakar submitted the final report to a Cox's Bazar court, said Public Prosecutor Faridul Alam.
Sifat and Shipra, students of the Film and Media Department of Stamford University, were Sinha's team members for his documentary film project.
Sifat was with Sinha during the murder and police arrested him. They arrested Shipra from Nilima Resort in Himchhari.
Police claimed they found drugs in the car and at the resort.