Two suspects arrested in connection with the murder of Niladri Chatterjee, also known as Niloy Neel, will be brought before the deceased blogger’s wife and sister-in-law for positive identification to determine whether they were present at the crime scene, police said.
One of the arrestees, Saad Al Nahiyan, is a nephew of State Minister for Labour Mujibul Huq Chunnu. The other, Masud Rana, is a relative of Ariful Islam, who has been accused for the murder of another blogger, Oyasiqur Rahman Babu.
SM Jahangir Alam Sarker, additional deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police's media wing, said the two arrestees had confessed to being members of outlawed militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team during preliminary questioning.
DB Deputy Commissioner (east) Mahbub Alam added: “Although they did not confess to being involved in the killing, they named other militants whose identities and records are now being analysed by police.”
The deputy commissioner said the arrestees would be brought before Niloy’s wife, Ahsamoni, and his sister-in-law Isratun Tanni for positive identification.
“This will help us to determine whether they were present when the crime took place,” he said.
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Mollah Saiful Islam placed the arrestees on eight-day remand yesterday after they were produced in court by the investigating officer, Detective Branch (DB) Inspector Mahbubur Rahman, who had requested ten days’ remand.
Charges were earlier brought against Nahiyan for the attempted murder of blogger Asif Mohiuddin in 2013. He was arrested on March 31, 2013 and made a confessional statement in the case. He received bail on September 25 last year.
Masud was an accused in the Oyasiqur Rahman Babu murder case, but his name was subsequently dropped from the charge sheet. His cousin and brother-in-law Arif is an accused in the case. Arif was caught red-handed while fleeing after hacking Babu in Begunbari area with two other accomplices.
Police sources said Masud was arrested around 7pm on Thursday in front of Purabi Cinema Hall in the capital’s Mirpur area. Nahiyan was arrested around 9:30pm from Kalyan Samiti Park area of Uttara Sector 7 the same night.
Detectives have not yet questioned Niloy’s wife, Ashamoni, about the murder but were trying to schedule a meeting with her today.
On August 7, Niloy was hacked to death by four unidentified assailants inside his apartment in Goran in the capital. He is the fourth blogger so far this year to have been murdered for holding non-conformist and secular views.
Niloy was attempting to leave the country after receiving several death threats and being followed around on public transportation. Despite several attempts, he was unable to convince the police to take down a general diary about his safety concerns.
A little-known group calling itself Ansar Al Islam has claimed responsibility for the murder. In an email sent to the media the day of the murder, the group said Niloy had been killed for his “blasphemous activities” and warned others of similar consequences “for demeaning the Almighty and the Prophet.”
Investigators refute this claim, saying they believe that banned militant outfit Ansarullah Bangla Team is behind Niloy’s murder.