The family of commercially important person Saiful Karim, killed in a reported gunfight at Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar on Friday, said he had been in police custody since his arrival at Dhaka airport from Yangon on May 25.
They also alleged that they had talked to him over phone when was in police custody on May 25 at the airport and saw him in police custody in Cox’s Bazar on May 26.
They told New Age on Saturday that Chattogram-based television journalist Akram Hossain negotiating Saiful’s surrender to the authorities on a formal occasion.
Saiful’s 65-year-old mother Salimara Begum said that she had talked to him several times with the help of the journalist.
Saiful, who ran business firm SK International, reportedly fled abroad after the government launched the anti-drug drive in May 2018.
‘I had requested the journalist to make his arrival at the airport on TV live since the law enforcers were branding him as a big criminal. But, the journalist replied that there was a problem in doing it,’ said Salimara.
‘I spoke to my son over phone and he sought blessings from me. I kept pressuring Akram to arrange a meeting with my son but he told me it would be possible after 10 days,’ she said.
‘I started sensing bad when we kept waiting overnight [on Thursday] but failed to meet my son. We wanted to meet the SP [superintendent of police in Cox’s Bazar] and insisted Akram until we were told that he was killed in crossfire,’ said Salimara.
Another relative said that he saw Saiful on a microbus on the road near district prison heading to Cox’s Bazar police lines on May 26.
‘It was about 9:00-9:30am. I was waiting for him as I was told that their vehicle was very close. There was a speed breaker and the microbus slowed down there. I waved my hand and he waved back,’ said the relative, adding, ‘I saw a number of plainclothesmen on the microbus.’
Journalist Akram Hossain reportedly played a key role in negotiating the surrender of 102 Yaba smugglers and dealers surrendered to the police in the first phase at an event in Cox’s Bazar on February 16.
Akram declined to comment on the reported negotiation for surrender of Saiful.
According to his boarding pass, Saiful travelled to Dhaka airport from Yangon on May 25.
Teknaf police station officer-in-charge Pradip Kumar Das declined to comment when he was asked about Saiful’s reported arrest at Dhaka airport on May 25.
The police claimed that they arrested Saiful in Cox’s Bazar district headquarters at about 10:00pm on May 30 and took him to Teknaf police station for interrogation.
No investigation was yet initiated in Cox’s Bazar over the custodial death of Saiful. A case was, however, filed over the reported gunfight, police officials said.
Government-listed commercially important person Saiful allegedly used SK International as a front to run Yaba smuggling from Myanmar, police officials said.
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