Suspended police inspector Liaqat Ali shot Major (retd) Sinha Rashed Khan twice and then former officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station Pradeep Kumar Das confirmed his death by stomping on the victim’s neck.
Eyewitness Md Kamal Hossain said this while testifying before the Cox’s Bazar District and Sessions Judge’s Court yesterday.
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Kamal is a resident of Shamlapur area of Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf upazila and drives a CNG-run auto-rickshaw.
“At the night of the incident, Kamal was driving his auto-rickshaw and was behind the car in which Major (retd) Sinha was travelling,” said a court source, quoting Kamal.
“When Sinha’s car was halted at the checkpoint, Kamal had to stop his auto-rickshaw several feet behind the Sinha’s car. Kamal saw the entire incident,” the source told The Daily Star.
“Kamal told the court that he saw a man come out of a car with his hands up. Within a few moments, a policeman shot him. After being hit, the man advanced two steps forward. The policeman then shot him again,” said the source.
“The man fell on the ground and he was bleeding profusely. A few moments later, another police team went to the spot. The officer leading the team kicked the man lying on the ground and stomped on his neck with his foot. Moments later, the body was loaded on a pick-up and they left the scene,” the source added.
Kamal also told the court that he knew none of them when the incident took place. Later, he came to know that the shooter was inspector Liaqat Ali, the victim was Major (retd) Sinha and the police officer, who kicked the victim, was Pradeep Kumar Das, a court source said.
Judge Ismail Hossain recorded Kamal’s deposition, which began at 10:15am and continued for an hour and around 15 minutes. The defence then cross-examined his statement.
All 15 accused in the case were present in the court yesterday, said court’s Public Prosecutor Faridul Alam.
During the proceedings, defence lawyer Rana Dasgupta requested lawyers of both prosecution and defence to remain cautious so that the accused do not become victim of media trial, said a court source.
Earlier in the first phase of the hearing, the court recorded statements of two witnesses between August 23 and 25 — Sinha’s sister and the complainant Sharmin Shahriar Ferdous and one of Sinha’s associates Shahedul Islam Sifat.
The court began the second phase by recording statements of other witnesses on Sunday and it will continue till September 8. The court has summoned 15 witnesses to testify during this period.
According to the charge sheet, 83 people were witnesses to the incident.
On June 27, the court framed charges against 15 accused. Of them, 12 are police personnel, including Pradeep, Liaqat Ali, sub-inspector Md Shahjahan, and assistant sub-inspector Liton Mia, who were all suspended from their posts.
On December 13 last year, the investigators submitted the charge sheet.
Sinha, 36, had been making travel documentaries for a YouTube channel called “Just Go”. He was returning to Cox’s Bazar from Teknaf.
He was killed in a police firing at a checkpoint of Armed Police Battalion (APBn) at Teknaf’s Shamlapur area on July 31 last year.
Police claimed that they tried to search the vehicle, and Sinha aimed his pistol at them, prompting them to shoot back in self-defence. They also claimed that they seized drugs from the vehicle.
Sinha’s elder sister filed the murder case with Teknaf Senior Judicial Magistrate’s Court against Pradeep, Nandadulal, and several others on August 5 last year