In a ruling on Sunday, the division bench of Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam and Justice Md Salim criticised Inspector Shamim Akhter, the investigation officer of the case, for attempting to protect the “real suspects,” and directed Shamim’s unit, the Police Bureau of Investigation, or PBI, to take necessary departmental action against him.
The court has ordered the PBI to appoint a new investigation officer and to submit a fresh chargesheet to the trial court in 10 days.
Abu Bakar Siddique, a counsel for the plaintiff Nigar Sultana, said the court blasted the investigation officer for “hurriedly submitting” the chargesheet, violating an earlier High Court directive.
The High Court had earlier directed the investigation officer of the case to base his probing on the original first information report, or FIR, submitted by Nurul Islam's daughter Nigar and evidence unearthed by a judicial inquiry committee.
Quoting the ruling, Abu Bakar said, Shamim’s testimony with the court has definitively established that he conducted the probe based on a different FIR, which Nigar denied having submitted.
The court said the PBI inspector had investigated in bad faith to protect the actual suspects in the case.
Nurul Islam’s body was recovered on Jun 11, 2019, from a brick kiln at Puthia’s Kathalbari area in the district.
The very same day Nigar filed a murder case with the Puthia Police Station and accused eight people, including transport leader Abdur Rahman Patal and local Awami League leader Ahsanul Haque Masud of the murder.
She wrote in the FIR that the suspects killed her father over his dispute with other transport leaders over the election of the Upazila’s motor vehicle workers’ union.
Nigar also identified Shakil Uddin Ahamed, then officer-in-charge, or OC, of the police station, as an accomplice of the main suspects in the FIR.
Police subsequently submitted an FIR with the trial court, which Nigar denied having submitted, dropping the names of some of the accused and the OC.
According to Nigar, Puthia police made her sign her name on a blank piece of paper the day she filed her FIR.
Nigar challenged the authenticity of the FIR police filed with the trial court by submitting a petition with the High Court in Dec 2019.
The High Court found OC Shakil’s actions constituted a punitive offence and directed the Anti-Corruption Commission to take legal action against him.
The ACC, in January last year, sued Shakil for manipulating the FIR of the murder under the Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption laws.