Case Against Shipra: Two witnesses ‘forced’ to sign on blank papers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:22 AM, August 09, 2020

Case Against Shipra: Two witnesses ‘forced’ to sign on blank papers

Witnesses in a narcotic case, filed against Stamford University student Shipra Debnath, claimed they were forced to sign on blank papers.

Shipra and two other students of Stamford University -- Shahedul Islam Sifat and Tahsin Rifat Nur -- had gone to a cottage with slain ex-army major Sinha Mohammad Rashed Khan. Police arrested Shipra and Rifat from Nilima Resort on August 1, recovered liquor and marijuana and filed a narcotics case against them.

Meanwhile, police and witnesses appear to be at variance over what was seized from the cottage that night.

According to the First Information Report, filed by Sub-Inspector (SI) Shafiqul Islam of Himchharai police outpost, they recovered five bottles of foreign liquor, one litre of local liquor and a small pack of marijuana from the D-1 building of Nilima Resort around 12:45am on August 1. 

Md Lokman Khan, caretaker of the resort and a witness, on the other hand, said police also seized Tk 2 lakh cash, a knife, a machete, a CPU, monitor, hard drive, camera, four lenses, sound box, keyboard and mics.

"We do not know what police would do with these the things [they recovered]. They left with the things and took Shipra and Rifat along with them sometime after 4:30am. At the resort, Shipra was asking them about Major Sinha and police told her that Sinha was fine and in their custody," said Lokman, adding that police came back a day later to take his signature on a blank white paper.

Md Abdullah, security guard of the resort, another witness in the case, also said that police went to him with Lokman and took his signature on a blank paper.

About the missing items on the seizure list, SI Dipankar Ruaza, also the investigating officer of the case, told this newspaper that a separate note was attached to the existing seizure list about the recovery of Tk 2 lakh.

Regarding the computer and other objects, he said, "We are preparing a second seizure list and will submit the list before court tomorrow [today]."

Asked about the delay, the IO said that the investigation has already been transferred to the Detective Branch of police (DB) and they may able to give further information.

Contacted, Md Ashrafuzzaman, officer-in-charge of DB police in Cox's Bazar, yesterday said they just got charge of the investigation and did not receive the case documents yet.

Former army major Sinha, 36, had been making travel documentaries for a YouTube channel called "Just Go" with the three university students.

On July 31, he was returning to Cox's Bazar from Teknaf after shooting with Sifat. 

His car was stopped at Shaplapur on Marine Drive road.

Police claimed that they tried to search the vehicle and Sinha aimed his pistol at them, which prompted them to shoot in self-defence.

They also claimed that they seized drugs from the vehicle.

Later, police conducted a drive in Nilima resort and arrested Shipra and Rifat.

Police later released Rifat under Guardian's custody.

THEY HIRED RESORT FOR TWO MONTHS

According to Nilima resort officials, Sinha and the three students rented the D-1 cottage on July 6 for two months, with a monthly rent for Tk 70 thousand. Sinha had already paid the rent in two phases to the resort authority, said caretaker Lokman.

Lokman said that Sinha was a very gentle and kind-hearted man. "He would always talk to us with a smile on his face and invite use whenever they would cook good food or bring fruits."

TWO ACCUSED MISSING

On August 5, Sinha's sister Sharmen Shahria Ferdush filed a case against nine policemen. Seven of them have already surrendered and are now in jail.

Lt Col Ashique Billah, legal and media wing director of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab), yesterday said that the seven arrestees were placed on a seven day remand after Rab's appointed investigating officer appealed in the court.

"We would take the accused in our custody tomorrow [today] and we would interrogate the suspended policemen in phases. We are working in line with court directives for the complete interrogation of the seven accused within ten working days from the date of the given order.

"Although the plaintiff mentioned nine policemen names, in primary investigation we did not find the presence of the two other policemen in Baharchhara investigation centre. Still, we are verifying their roles and checking further," he said.

About interrogating the Cox's Bazar police super, he said that they have made note of the telephonic conversation that surfaced in different media. "Rab is now analysing the conversation and, if necessary, the investigation officer would take further legal action in this regard," he said, adding, "We want to ensure a fair investigation and the punishment of those responsible." 

According to media reports, OC Pradeep Kumar Das called Superintendent of Police ABM Masud Hossain on his cell phone around 9:33pm on the day of incident and informed that Inspector Liaqat Ali signalled a car but it did not stopped and then he ordered Liaqat to shoot, and he shot.

He is now going there, said Pradeep.

After listening, SP Masud asked Pradeep to go as well.

Moments later, Inspector Liaqat called SP Masud again around 9:34pm and said that a man wearing an army uniform was trying to "get away after identifying himself as a major".

As the person pointed a gun at him, he shot.

SP Masud said, "The person first shot and missed. Then you shot him."

Asked about status of Sifat and Shipra, he said that a lawyer was already appointed to deal their case. "Rab will interrogate them for the sake of investigation."

FOUR INTERROGATED AT JAIL GATE

Zamilul Hoque, senior assistant superintendent of Rab-15 -- also the investigating officer of the Sinha murder case, interrogated four police members -- Constables Safanur Karim, Kamal Hossain and Mohammad Abdullah and Assistant SI Liton Miah at the jail gate yesterday.

Mohammad Mokammel Hoque, jailer of Cox's Bazar district jail, said the IO interrogated four policemen at 2:00pm yesterday and would further interrogate the arrestees today.

 

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