Sinha killing: RAB defers remand schedule to work on new clues

But they went back from the jail gate’

Sinha Md Rashed Khan

Two weeks into the death of retired Major Sinha Md Rashed Khan in an alleged police firing, investigators are yet to start interrogating the suspects.

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which is in charge of the probe, says they need to verify some ‘sensitive information’, which they got hold of recently, before taking the suspects into custody for grilling.

On Thursday, a RAB team went to the Cox’s Bazar prison to take four suspects into its custody, but returned without them.

According to people familiar with the matter, investigators got hold of some fresh leads over the killing after going through some mobile phone records, which led them to abort from quizzing the suspects now.

RAB’s Investigating Officer (IO) Jamil Ul Haque felt that it was imperative to verify the new information to get a clear picture of the July 31 killing before grilling the suspects, they said.

They want to draw a conclusion upon strong evidence and with no loopholes, according to the sources.

“We will talk to Shipra Rani Debnath and Shahedul Islam Sifat, the witnesses, again over some issues,” Lieutenant Colonel Ashique Billah, director of the RAB’s legal and media wing told this newspaper in the evening.

He said, they expect to take the seven suspects—four policemen and three others — into custody on Sunday.

The four, all cops from the Teknaf Police Station are suspended ASI Litan Miah and constables Kamal Hossain, Abdullah Al Mamun and Safanur Karim and three civilians, Nurul Amin, Nizam Uddin and Md Ayash are in jail now. All of them have been remanded for seven days each.

The three civilians are residents of Teknaf’s Baharchhara union and members of community police. They were made witnesses in a murder case filed by Teknaf police following the death of Sinha.

RAB arrested them on Tuesday and produced them before a court, when the three were put on remand.

Pradeep and Liakat will be grilled later

RAB officials said they will wait for some more days before questioning the prime suspects Teknaf police station’s suspended Officer-in-Charge (OC) Pradeep Kumar Das, Baharchhara police outpost’s Inspector Liakat Ali and Sub-Inspector Nanda Dulal Rakkhit in remand.

The local court did not mention the deadline of completing quizzing them. The seven-day remand for each of them will be counted from the day RAB will bring them to their custody.

The RAB will accumulate all information they got so far by talking to the two witnesses and using technology with the info they are supposed to be gained by grilling the seven will be verified while interrogating the three officials of police.

Meanwhile, a public hearing will be held over the killing of Major (retd) Sinha by police firing in Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf upazila on Sunday at the office of Shamlapur Rohingya Camp in-charge in Teknaf.

The hearing has been organized by the high-level investigation committee headed by Additional Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Mohammad Mizanur Rahman under the direction of the Home Ministry.

‘Sinha was unarmed when shot dead’

Sifat, a member of Maj (rtd.) Sinha’s film crew has claimed that Sinha was unarmed when Inspector Liakat Ali shot him. “I saw Sinha leaving his handgun in the car when he got down. He came out of the car with his hands over his head,” said Sifat.

He made the remark in a TV interview aired on Wednesday while describing the events that had transpired before police murdered Major (retd) Sinha.

Sifat said they were first stopped at an Armed Police Battalion (APBn) check post in Shamlapur where the duty officers let them go.

Also Read – ‘Major Sinha led anti-narcotics drives during posting at Teknaf BGB’

Sifat said: “When we were pulling up the windows of our car door, he [Liakat] came. He asked for our identities again. When we gave our identities, they placed a drum in front of our car to block us and asked us to get down from the car.”

“I started walking towards the back of the car after stepping out. Sinha also got down. I heard him saying calm down, calm down,” Sifat added.

“Moments later, I heard the gunshots. I saw Sinha lying on the ground. At first, I thought the bullet did not hit him, it was just a blank fire. Then I noticed Sinha in a pool of blood,” Sifat narrated.

On July 31 around 9pm, Major (retd) Sinha was killed at Shamlapur checkpost of Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf marine drive in Baharchara union.

Sifat, who was with Sinha, was arrested right after the killing and sent to jail the next day after police pressed charges against him. He was released on bail on August 10.

Major (rtd) Sinha, along with Sifat and Shipra, had gone to Cox’s Bazar for the purpose of making a documentary film on travelling.

Army Major (rtd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan, who was killed by police firing on July 31 in Cox’s Bazar, also served earlier at the BGB Battalion 2 in Teknaf for four months.

‘Sinha led anti-narcotics raids as BGB officer in Teknaf’

In his four-month stint at the Teknaf-based Bangladesh Border Guard Battalion (BGB), Major Sinha led several anti-narcotics drives in the border areas.

The slain army officer served as an operations officer between October 2017 to January 2018, according to Lt Col Mohammad Faisal Hannan Khan, commanding officer of BGB Battalion 2.

“Besides working on the Rohingya issue, he also led several anti-narcotics drives,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

However, as of yet, there is no specific information that links the killing of Sinha to him serving with the BGB in Teknaf.

In May 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced an anti-narcotics crackdown in Bangladesh.

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