Police pick up businessman, force to sign Tk 12.5m cheques

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Feb 17, 2020

Mehedi Sheikh, a businessman, was picked up from his Gulshan residence at midnight without any arrest warrant by the law enforcers.

He was taken to Dhanmondi police station from his house in Gulshan’s Kalachandpur and next day forced to sign on two cheques worth Tk 12.5 million.According to the businessman, it all happened as he had some business dealings with deputy commissioner of Ramna zone police.

On 22 January, two inspectors picked Mehedi up and detained him at a room of Dhanmondi police station. Around 12:00pm on the following day, the police asked him to bring his cheque book and the main copy of trade license.

A relative of detained businessman Mehedi brought the cheque book. He was then forced to sign a cheque of Tk 6.5 million and another of 6 million.

He was later taken to Ramna zone DC Sajjadur Rahman’s office.

Sajjadur in his diary made the businessman write the date of cheques and asked Mehedi to sign. DC Sajjadur’s brother-in-law Masud Hossian aka Shuvra wrote the amount of money on two cheques.

Prothom Alo has obtained different proofs of the incident. A close look into these proves that the businessman was picked up from his home, detained at Dhanmondi police station and taken to Moghbazar office of Ramna zone the following day.

Mehedi on 12 February filed written complaints to inspector general of police (IGP) and commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police. He sought security and urged the authorities to save him from financial loss in the letters.

DMP commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo that he had got the complaint.

The allegation would be investigated, he added.

According to five persons from the both side, financial dealings ensued enmity between DC Sajjadur Rahman and Mehedi.

Mehedi used to import goods including powder milk from abroad. Sajjadur gave him Tk 5 million. In return, Mehedi gave him Tk 250,000 every month as profit. The police officer’s brother-in-law Masud Hossain used to collect the profit. Upon receiving the full amount in cash, Mehedi provided a cheque of Tk 5 million as security.

Mehedi stopped providing the monthly profit last year after the business incurred loss. After that, the cheque of security deposit was placed in the bank. Sajjadur’s brother-in-law Masud filed a cheque dishonour case against Mehedi. He is now on bail in the case.

In the turn of the event, the police personnel picked Mehedi up and made him sign in two cheques worth Tk 12.5 million. Masud and Hadiuzzaman, another close relative of Sajjadur, on 4 February served legal notice to Mehedi after two cheques bounced.

Asked if any police personnel can be involved with such business dealings or such endeavour to recover money, former IGP and lawmaker Nur Mohammad said that it’s not the duty of police to recover money.

Police normally play role of mediator between two parties if any one resorts to them, he said.

He, however, said it’s a criminal offence if any policeman uses force or intimidates someone to solve any problem.

Two inspectors’ involvement

Hazaribagh police station’s assistant sub-inspector Raju Ahmed and Dhanmondi police station’s sub-inspector Zillur Rahman picked up Mehedi from his residence. Raju was posted in Satkhira’s detective branch and Narayanganj with Sajjadur Rahman.

Raju told Prothom Alo that he could not remember if he went to detain anyone named Mehedi Sheikh. Mehedi said Raju went to his home.

SI Zillur, too, said Raju was with him during that drive. He could not answer why Raju, posted in Hazaribagh, went there as the case was of Dhanmondi police station.

Zillur said Hadiuzzaman filed a general diary with Dhanmondi police station to recover the money. Mehedi was summoned to the police station.

Asked why police went to Mehedi’s house at midnight without any arrest warrant and why he was detained in the police station for the whole night, Raju said he went there to settle the matter.

He maintained that Mehedi was not harassed and higher officials were aware of the operation.

Mehedi said Zillur acted on direction of higher authorities but did not misbehave with him.

What is the source of Tk 5 million?

Mehedi Sheikh said, DC Sajjadur Rahman invested the money in his business. A question arises whether a police official can invest such a huge amount of money.

“I took the money from DC sir for my business. I used to share the profit with him,” said Mehedi.

DC Sajjadur Rahman said, “It’s my brother-in-law who invested the money. If somebody fails to recover his money from an individual, he or she goes to the police. My brother in law came to me that way.”

Citing his action as committed within rules, the DC said, “you will find what kind of person Mehedi is if you check his backgrounds.”

Asked about why he made a financial transaction with such a person as a designated police official, DC Sajjadur said his brother-in-law had made the transaction.

Brother-in-law wrote the check

Sajjadur Rahman’s brother-in-law Masud Hossain wrote two cheques signed by Mehedi at Dhanmondi police station. He was taken from Dhanmondi police station with the check to Ramna office of the DC. Sajjadur Rahman said Mehedi was taken to his office, but he was not pressurised for anything at all.

Regarding allegations of harassing Mehedi Sheikh, making him sign the cheques in police custody and threatening him, the DC said, “These allegations are not true at all. I, rather, asked him if he was being pressurised. He informed me that everything was being settled through negotiations. I helped both parties settle the matter.”

Mehedi, however, said, he would go to court for his protection.

“I have paid a total of Tk 6.7 million so far by instalments of Tk 250,000 every month. A man owed me Tk 7 million that was collected by Sajjadur Rahman and his brother-in-law,” Mehedi Sheikh told Prothom Alo.

Assistant sub-inspector Raju withdrew the money, which has the proof of the bank concerned. So far, they have taken a total of Tk 8.5 million from me. Yet they used the matter against me when the Tk 5 million cheque was dishonoured and now they are trying to put me in trouble with two checks worth Tk 12.5 million.

DC Sajjadur Rahman said, “He did not pay dividends on the money, nor did he return the capital. It is not clear what business he has been running.”

Mehdi Sheikh said, Sajjadur Rahman’s brother-in-law and several other relatives run a company called Five One BD.

“I incurred huge losses after importing milk powder under the company’s license. For one of my shipments was stuck due to court case while it took too long to make the clearance of another shipment and the milk powder was expired by then,” Mehedi told Prothom Alo.

“They knew my condition. Yet they kept harassing me,” he added.

According to law experts, it was illegal to pick someone from his home and forced him to sign cheques. The DC, however, denied all the allegations.

Senior lawyer at Supreme Court Shahdeen Malik told Prothom Alo, the matter should be resolved by the civil court.

People, in recent years, go to the police with these matters for either lack of trust in the judiciary system or due to its weaknesses that sometimes encourage many police officials to misuse their power.

“In this case what the official did was not logical or lawful at all. He in one hand was involved with the matter and on the other hand misused his power,” the lawyer added.

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