RAB fails to wrap Sagar-Runi murder probe in 8 years

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:18, Feb 11,2020


Meherun Runi and Sagar Sarowar

Eight years have elapsed since the Rapid Action Battalion began investigating the sensational double murder case of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi without making any progress while frustrated family members and their colleagues are still looking for justice.

The investigators have been repeating the same statement over the years saying that ‘the investigation was on’ while the home minister, Asaduzzaman Khan, in November 2019 said they were expecting ‘progress’ in near future.

But, the family members were getting frustrated and their faith on the investigation by the elite force has been thoroughly shaken.

‘It seems we have made offence by seeking justice. But, whatever it is we want justice,’ said Runi’s brother Nowsher Alam Roman, who filed the murder case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station as the complainant.

He said the law enforcement agencies investigating into the case ‘stopped contacting us’ and last investigation officer made a call after taking charge of investigation and ‘that is it.’

The RAB spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Sarwar Bin Quashem did not respond to New Age’s request for comments though there have been multiple attempts at seeking updates on the investigation since February 6.

He, however, told other media outlets that they were still investigating into the case.

Separate investigators have pleaded for time to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court in Dhaka for 71 times to complete their investigation.

On Monday, Dhaka’s metropolitan magistrate Debabrata Biswash also extended the time till March 23 for the investigation.

On February 11, 2012, Sagar then news editor of Maasranga TV and his wife Runi, senior reporter of ATN  Bangla were murdered in cold blood at their rented flat at Paschim Razabazar in the capital in the presence of their minor son Mahir Sarowar Megh.

Later in the day, the then home minister Sahara Khatun publicly promised to bring the assailants to the book within 48 hours. The RAB failed to make any headway in the investigations since April 18, 2012 after it was placed in charge of the investigation.

The journalist leaders and their colleagues staged demonstration for weeks and held human chains for many times in the last nine years.

Recently, on February 9, the Dhaka Union of Journalists placed a seven point demand to home minister Asaduzzaman Khan at his secretariat office demanding safety and security of the journalists and justice into the killings of Sagar-Runi couple.

DUJ secretary Sohel Haider Chowdhury said they were assured once again of getting justice into the killings of journalists. 

The home minister said that sometimes investigation takes longer than usual.

On Nov 14, 2019, a bench of High Court Division constituted by Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman also expressed dismay over RAB’s failure to make any progress in investigations into the sensational double murder case.

The bench directed RAB to submit a report about progress in probes by March 4, 2020.

At the hearing, RAB investigator and additional police superintendent Khandaker Shafiqul Alam submitted that there had been no progress in the investigations.

Khandaker Shafiqul Alam was the seventh investigator in the case since July 4, 2019.

When the court asked him to explain whether Sagar’s missing laptop had been found, he replied in the negative. He submitted that RAB sent four samples to the USA for the DNA tests.

The investigator submitted that the American company informed the RAB that they would give ‘imaginary pictures’ of the two other samples, the unidentified suspects.       

Following the murder, at least eight suspects — Sagar-Runi’s family friends Tanvir Ahmed, Enam Ahmed alias Humayun Kabir, Rafiqul Islam, Bakul Mia, Mitu alias Bargira Mintu alias Masum Mintu, Kamrul Hasan Arun, Palash Rudra Paul and Abu Sayeed — were arrested and quizzed for many days.

On March 8, 2015, Tanvir was freed on bail by the High Court Division while seven other accused are in jail custody now. Palash jumped bails and went into hiding and no information was available on him so far.

The family members and journalist colleagues would remember the murdered couple today in separate occasion.

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