It has been four years since Hasan Majumder, manager of Hotel Bandhu, and the then chef Sohel Rana were captured by a CCTV camera being handcuffed and taken away by a group of DB men in civilian clothing. Another camera on the ground floor of the building captured the two being taken away around 12:25 pm. Yet, according to an FIR filled with the Motijheel Police Station, officers had apparently arrested Hasan and Sohel from an alley near Fakirapool Fish Market area around 4:15pm, while the two were “caught” while fleeing the spot with Tk 25 lakh worth of fake notes.
According to Hasan, the FIR and subsequent case had been cooked up by the DB, and the duo have been framed in a false case because they refused to give Tk 3 lakh that the police officers at the DB office on Minto Road had demanded for their release. Hasan already had to spend five months and 17 days in prison because of this. Despite filing 10 complaints—six with the Police Headquarters, two with Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), one with the Prime Minister’s Office, and one with the home ministry—it is Hasan who is still being asked to fight to prove his own innocence. Hasan’s family has already spent Tk 6 lakh by selling off land to meet his legal expenses. Meanwhile, none of the probes that had begun following his multiple complaints have resulted in any action against the DB members who were seen handcuffing him and Sohel Rana in the CCTV footage—that too, in civilian clothing, which is in violation of a High Court order. Till date, no information has been made available about what these multiple probe committees have found.
Hasan says that he eventually withdrew his complaint under the assurance from the accused DB officials that his name would be excluded from the final report and the charge sheet, which wasn’t followed through either. Under the circumstances, where is Hasan supposed to turn to for justice? When there are more than 20 people who have confirmed Hasan’s story—they told this newspaper as much—and still nothing has been done, how can Hasan, or anyone for that matter, have faith that our law enforcement agencies or the legal system can deliver justice?
According to one noted rights activist, this is not an isolated incident. Allegations of charge sheet manipulation, arranging fake witnesses, and changing the place of occurrence are quite common in the country. This too has been confirmed by media reports on multiple occasions. In that case, is it not incumbent upon the authorities to look into these allegations even more vigorously and handle them with greater transparency to reinforce people’s confidence in them and the system? Unfortunately, however, the probe reports of such incidents are seldom made public, leaving room for further questions and ambiguities.
We call on the authorities to look into this case and address the allegations that have been made by Hasan and Sohel. We also ask the authorities to handle the case with greater transparency and make public all the evidence and information that have been gathered so far.