A judicial magistrate court on Thursday remanded Teknaf police station officer-in-charge Pradeep Kumar Das and two others for seven days in RAB custody after they surrendered in connection with a case filed on Wednesday over the killing of retired army major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan in police firing at a check post in Cox’s Bazar on July 31.
The other two were Baharcchara Investigation Centre in-charge Md Liyakat Ali and sub-inspector Nanda Dulal Rakshit.
Cox’s Bazar district court senior judicial magistrate, Helal Uddin, at about 8:00pm passed the order hours after he rejected their bail applications and sent them to jail.
The court also sent four other suspected policemen to jail allowing the investigators to interrogate them at the jail gate, district court public prosecutor Faridul Alam said.
The defence counsel, Muhammad Zakaria, told the court that it was true that a person was killed but all of his clients were innocent.
At about 6:00pm, as police were preparing to transport the suspects to the jail, the investigating authority, Rapid Action Battalion, appeared before the court with an application to interrogate them in custody.
RAB-15 commanding officer Wing Commander Azim Ahmed said that they received all documents from the court and the Teknaf police station to start a thorough investigation into the death from firing.
Of the nine suspects, Inspector Pradeep surrendered to the Chattogram Metropolitan Police authorities in response to the murder case filed by Sinha’s eldest sister Sharmen Shahria Ferdush and was taken to the judicial magistrate court in Cox’s Bazar.
The rest six, including prime suspect Baharcchara Investigation Centre in-charge Md Liyakat Ali who reportedly shot dead the retired major at the check post, also surrendered to the court, which was heavily guarded by armed personnel.
District court PP Faridul said that the suspects, after surrendering, sought bail in the murder case lodged with the Teknaf police station on Wednesday on a court order following the compliant of the victim’s sister.
Sinha’s eldest sister Sharmen named as suspects OC Pradeep, inspector Md Liyakat Ali, sub-inspectors Nanda Dulal Rakshit and Tutul, assistant sub-inspector Liton Mia and constables Safanur Karim, Kamal Hossain, Abdullah Al Mamun and Mohammad Mostafa.
Cox’s Bazar district court police inspector Pradip Kumar Das said that against the nine suspects named by the complainant, the authorities did not find anyone named Tutul and Mosfata.
Earlier in the afternoon, CMP additional commissioner Amena Begum told New Age that Pradeep was staying in Chattogram on medical leave, and in response to the complaint filed, he intended to surrender, and they escorted him to the court in Cox’s Bazar.
Police officials said that inspector Pradeep was in the police hospital at Dampara in the port city.
A senior police official said that Pradeep was in the Cox’s Bazar police lines for safety and later he was moved to Chattogram.
Unmarried Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan, 36, who took early retirement from the Bangladesh Army in November 2018, was shot dead at a police checkpoint on Cox’s Bazar–Teknaf Marine Drive at Shamlapur under Teknaf upazila in Cox’s Bazar on July 31.
The killing touched off a wave of protests across the country and prime minister Sheikh Hasina called Nasima Akhter, mother of Rashed. Rashed had served Sheikh Hasina as a member of the Special Security Force for four years.
A day after Rashed’s death, prime suspect inspector Md Liyakat Ali along with his 15 personnel was withdrawn and attached to the district police lines.
Two cases were filed following the shooting death and reported drug seizure.
Following the death, the Cox’s Bazar police kept suspended their check-post duty at most places in the tourist district, especially in Teknaf.
A week after the incident, the Inter Services Public Relations in its first ever statement on the issue on Thursday said that the Bangladesh Army was extremely saddened at the ‘unexpected’ incident.
Meanwhile, a high-power committee was constituted by the home ministry on an instruction from the prime minister and the committee started their inquiry on Tuesday while chief of army staff General Aziz Ahmed and inspector general of police Benazir Ahmed visited the scene in person and exchanged views with officers of their respective forces, said the statement.
It said that both the army and police chiefs identified the incident as an isolated incident and said that the incident would not hamper the long-standing mutual relations between the two forces.
The ISPR stated that the two chiefs said that the perpetrators would be booked through proper investigation and fair trial, and ‘no interference’ would take place, and a completely impartial investigation would be conducted.
It went on that the Bangladesh Police were also were extremely saddened at the unexpected incident and assured that this would be the last such incident.
Both chiefs asked their respective forces to conduct joint patrol in the area to bring back trust among the people, according to the statement.
The four-member high-power government committee, headed by Chattogram additional divisional commissioner Mizanur Rahman, already collected the statements of Shahedul Islam Shefat, one of the witnesses to the shooting incident who was travelling with Rashed, and others who are in jail.
The other members of the committee are Lieutenant Colonel Sajjad, additional deputy inspector general of police in Chittagong Jakir Hossain and Cox’s Bazar additional district magistrate Shajahan Ali.
Mizanur Rahman said that they were inquiring whether the police shooting was justifiable and preparing a comprehensive list of people involving the incident.
‘We are planning to hold a public hearing over the issue,’ he said.
Following the shooting incident, police prosecuted Shefat as 50 Yaba pills and 250 grams of marijuana were found in his possession, according to police officials.
Rashed was travelling in his car from Marishbunia after filming in the dark and was intercepted at the police check post on information from locals over movement of robbers.
Shefat and two others of the film and media studies department at the Stamford University were helping Rashed to produce a film for a travel show. Of the two, a female student, Sipra Debnath, was also sent to jail in a drug case while another student was handed over to his parents.
Protests continued demanding the release of Shefat and Shipra on Wednesday. Fellow students protested in Dhaka demanding their release.
Shefat’s uncle Masum Billah told New Age that police did not mention in the seizure list his laptop and hard drive.
Shefat told his family that their laptop was at the resort where they had been staying since July 3 while the hard drive was with him.
None of the police investigators was available for comment on where the laptop and hard drive were now.