Five members of the capital's Kotwali police station were sued in an extortion case yesterday and Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) was instructed to carry out the investigation.
The accused are Officer-in-Charge Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, sub-inspectors Pabitra Sarkar and Sheikh Khalid, Assistant Sub-inspector Shahinur Rahman and constable Md Mizan.
Magistrate Abu Sufian Md Noman of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court-31 in Dhaka accepted the case and instructed the PBI to look into it, said Md Zakir Hossain Hawlader, lawyer for the plaintiff.
The plaintiff, Sohel Miah, a 50-year-old cloth trader and also toll collector at Waizghat in Old Dhaka, alleged that SI Pabitra and the others extorted Tk 3.5 lakh from his family by threatening to falsely implicate him in a case.
The case document says, "The incident happened on August 8, at about 4:00pm. I had just crossed the river on a boat and was coming ashore Waizghat when the sub-inspectors, the assistant SI, and the constable intercepted me. They went on to frisk me and upon finding Tk 2,900, pocketed the money. I asked for the money back and this angered them -- they started to pull me towards a [police] van, stating that they will take me to the [police] station.
"When people started to gather around, OC Mohammed Mizanur Rahman and constable Md Mizan produced two packets of yaba from their pockets, put them into my hands, announced to everyone that I had been caught with 214 yaba pills. Then they started taking my photos with their cellphones."
Sohel alleged that he was then taken to the police station and thrown into the lockup. While in the lockup, SI Khalid visited him and asked him to inform the matter to his family members, who then rushed to the police station.
"My wife spoke to the SIs over the phone. They told her that if she can bring Tk 5 lakh, I will be allowed to go free. Otherwise, I will be booked under terrorism charges," said Sohel, speaking to this correspondent yesterday. "My wife managed about Tk 2 lakh from our relatives."
He further alleged that his family met the policemen at the police station compound later around 10:30pm to hand Tk 2 lakh to SI Pabitra and SI Sheikh. "Another Tk 1.5 lakh was given by my sister's husband the next morning," said Sohel. The same two policemen received the money, he alleged.
Sohel was then arrested and prosecuted under the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ordinance Section 89, on charges that he was found taking drugs inside Mitford Hospital.
"I have children. I am a businessman. I have not been to Mitford hospital in months, let alone taking drugs there!" exclaimed Sohel, speaking to The Daily Star.
The police then took him to a lower court, made him plead guilty to the charges and pay a fine of Tk 500 to the court before releasing him, he alleged.
"While releasing me, they threatened that I need to keep my mouth shut, but I refuse to do that. I will fight this," said Sohel.
Despite repeated attempts, the SIs, the OC, assistant police commissioner of Kotwali zone and the divisional commissioner concerned could be reached over phone for comments.