Saturday, October 19, 2019

War crimes tribunal to deliver verdict on RP Saha killing anytime

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-04-25 07:23:35 BdST

The war crimes tribunal has set a case over the killing of Tangail philanthropist Ranada Prasad Saha, his son and five others for verdict.

A three-member bench of the International Crimes Tribunal led by Justice Md Shahinur Islam kept the verdict pending on Wednesday after the completion of arguments.

The 70-year-old suspect, Mahbubur Rahman, is accused of committing mass killing, murder, abduction and torture during the Liberation War in 1971.

The charges against Mahbubur include genocide, abduction, and torture.

He was the son of Abdul Wadud, the president of Mirzapur Peace Committee, a unit formed to collaborate with the Pakistani forces during the war.

Mahbubur and his brother Abdul Mannan were members of the Razakar force, according to the prosecution.

Prosecutors Rana Das Gupta represented the state while Gazi MH Tamim stood for the accused.

“The verdict was expected to come anytime soon,” Gupta told bdnews24.com.

The prosecution brought three charges against Mahbubur.

As many as 13 witnesses testified in the case.

The prosecution has sought maximum punishment, which is death penalty, of the accused.

"The trial has taken place 48 years after the murder of Ranada Prasad Saha, which is very unfortunate and frustrating. But it is more unfortunate that there was no general diary in any police station anywhere after his murder," the defence lawyer Tamim told bdnews24.com.

“Everyone who testified in the case said RP Saha went missing. No witness has said he was killed. There was only one witness of the prosecution. He also said he had seen RP Saha being picked up. The witness did not even know RP Saha,” he said.

“So it is proved that justice is being done through false testimony. I think the prosecution could not prove the charges against my client. I seek acquittal of my client," he added.

Behind the bars since the beginning of November, 2016, Mahbubur was indicted on Mar 28 last year.

Mahbubur, a Jamaat-e-Islami adherent, attacked the house of Saha with the help of local Razakars in Narayanganj on May 7, 1971, with 20-25 members of the Pakistani occupation force, according to the ICT’s investigation agency.

“They picked up seven people including Ranada Prasad Saha, his son Bhabani Prasad Saha, close aide Goura Gopal Saha, Rakhal Matlab and a guard, killed them and dumped their bodies in the Shitalakhya River. The bodies were never found.”

British government recognised Ranada with Rai Bahadur title for his philanthropic activities. Bangladesh government honoured him with posthumous Swadhinata Padak, the highest state award, in 1978.

Ranada, a native of Tangail’s Mirzapur, established a number of educational and charitable organisations.

Mahbubur carried out crimes near Bharateswari Homes, Kumudini Welfare Trust in Narayanganj and Tangail Circuit House during the Liberation War, ICT investigation agency's senior coordinator Mohammad Sanaul Haque had said.