THE police investigating the case that Export-Import Bank filed on May 19 against the Sikder Group managing director and his brother accusing them of murder attempt on and the abduction and intimidation of two of the bank’s top officers, the managing and the additional managing director, over the sanction of a loan of Tk 5 billion sought information from immigration authorities on reports that the Sikder Group brothers flew by private jet out to Bangkok at night on May 25. The Sikder Group duo, as the statement of the case that a bank’s director filed says, abducted the bank’s officers on May 7 when they visited the Sikder Group property pledged as security for the loan, tortured and intimidated them. When the two were taken to Rupganj and Purbachal to assess the property, the bank’s managing director was shot at but he escaped unhurt. The two are alleged to have been taken to a house at Banani in Dhaka where they were threatened and tortured and were later released in the evening after they had been forced to sign a blank sheet of paper in the presence of the Sikder Group duo.
The police waking up to investigate the flight of the Sikder Group brothers is a welcome move, but what is unfortunate is that they have woken up to reality after the two brothers flew out of Bangladesh to Bangkok ‘on medical emergency purpose’, as a director of the Dhaka airport is reported to have said although he pleaded ignorance about who the passengers were. The media also reported that the Bangladesh embassy in Thailand became involved in the incident by requesting on May 23 landing permission from Thai authorities for the air ambulance that would be carrying two ‘critical patients.’ The police are also reported to have said that they are verifying the allegations made in the case filed by Export Import Bank. The police would definitely investigate the allegations of the murder attempt, abduction and torture as levelled against the two brothers and would also verify the allegations made in the case filed by the bank keeping to standard procedures. But all this leaves a few questions yet unanswered. Why would the police begin investigation so late? What were the immigration police doing when the two brothers left Bangladesh? How did the Bangladesh embassy in Thailand become involved in the incident?
The accused flying out of the country by private jet pending the investigation of a case filed against them is in no way acceptable. All that has so far happened seeks to suggest that there are some quarters that may have been involved in the whole of the incident of the flight of the two brothers. Unless the government looks into the whole issue independently, such incidents may harm the rule of law and encourage further commission of such incidents by some other quarters, putting the justice dispensation system in jeopardy. The government must, therefore, investigate the incident and hold to account everyone found involved in it while it must run the investigation of the case that was filed.
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