Police to question choreographer Ivan in custody over human trafficking charges

A Dhaka court has put award-winning choreographer and dancer Ivan Shahriar Sohag on remand over his alleged ties to a human trafficking ring that smuggled women to Dubai.

Metropolitan Magistrate Mahmuda Begum remanded Ivan in the custody of the police’s Criminal Investigation Division or CID for seven days on Monday.

CID’s SI Kamruzzaman, the investigation officer of the case, produced him before the court with a plea to question him for as many days.

“Ivan appeared dejected while standing in the dock during the hearing. He did not say a word to the judge,” court police SI Swapan Mandal said.

The defence submitted a bail petition and a prayer to scrap the remand plea to the court, both of which were turned down by the judge.

Ivan’s lawyer pointed out that his name had not been in the case dossier and that he was detained on suspicion. He was a cultural personality and had no knowledge of any wrongdoing, they added.

The state clarified that Ivan had been named in confessional statements from two suspects, prompting the CID to detain him in the case.

Earlier, Metropolitan Magistrate Begum Yasmin Ara’s court sent Ivan behind bars in the case on Sep 12 upon an appeal from SI Kamaruzzaman following his arrest in the capital’s Niketan area on Sep 10.

In August, the CID busted a human trafficking ring that sent women to Dubai on the pretext of getting them jobs before forcing them into 'sex work'. Law enforcers arrested ringleader, Md Azam Khan, 45, and four of his accomplices,

Ivan won the National Film Award in 2017 for his choreography for the film 'Dhyatteriki'. He also leads a dance troupe called 'Sohag Dance Group' and is chairman of an advertising agency 'Exposure BD'.

The CID said the trafficking ring would offer the girls verbal contract saying they would be given dance lessons and sent to Dubai with job offers at dance bars for a monthly pay of Tk 50,000. Once the dancers reached there, they would be forced into sex work.