Saturday, November 17, 2018

Court clears police to start case against columnist Farhad Mazhar’s wife over false abduction report

  • Senior Correspondent
    Published: 2017-12-07 19:52:31 BdST


A Dhaka court has green-lighted the police to press charges against columnist Farhad Mazhar’s wife Farida Akhtar for reporting a false abduction.

The court has also gave them permission to act against Farhad.

A staunch government critic, Farhad was found on a bus in Jessore while travelling from Khulna to Dhaka, 18 hours after he went missing from the capital on Jun 3.

His family alleged in a police complaint, which was later recorded as a case, that he was abducted after he had left home early that morning.

On Nov 14, investigators filed their report to the court, where they said no truth was found in the claim that the columnist had been abducted and sought permission to prosecute the columnist’s wife for filing a false report.

The final probe report says the case filed by Farida is baseless and covers up the actual events.

On Thursday, a Dhaka metropolitan magistrate held a hearing over the probe report and accepted the police’s plea to start a case against her, said the court’s recording officer Sub-Inspector Nizamuddin.

He said the court also gave the law enforcers the go-ahead to take action against Farhad over the incident.

Earlier in the day, Farida appeared before court and objected to the investigation report and pleaded for time to file a petition, according to her lawyer.

Counsel Syed Zainul Abedin said the court accepted his client’s plea and set Jan 9 to file the petition challenging the police report .

The dramatic disappearance and discovery of the 70-year-old columnist sparked debate in the political quarter and on social media.

Social media was abuzz with criticism against Mazhar after police produced a woman, identified as Archana Rani, in court on Jul 10.

Archana was allegedly traced as part of the law enforcers’ investigation into the man’s disappearance.

Archana identified herself as a follower of Farhad Mazhar and then told court that he left home on the day of his disappearance to send her money.

"The information provided by the woman has matched the police investigation into the Farhad Mazhar incident," Detective Branch Assistant Commissioner Hafiz Al Asad, who was in charge of the investigation, told

Dhaka Metropolitan Police chief Md Asaduzzaman Mia had said detectives were suspicious of the account provided by Farhad Mazhar.

Law enforcers have been expressing suspicion about the authenticity of his abduction claim since they discovered him on the bus.

Security footage of him loitering in the New Market area in Khulna on the afternoon of his disappearance further fuelled police's suspicion, said the DMP chief.

The account he provided to court is inconsistent with the evidence of the day gathered from CCTV footage, call records and other findings, he had said.