Stamford University student Shahadul Islam Sefat was released yesterday from jail after a Cox's Bazar court granted him bail in two separate cases -- murder and narcotics -- filed by Teknaf police.
The court also ordered the handing over of the investigation of the two cases to the Rapid Action Battalion instead of police, Sefat's lawyer Mohammad Mostafa told The Daily Star.
Around 2:15pm, Sefat came out of Cox's Bazar Jail. Witnesses said that he was escorted by plainclothes men in a silver coloured microbus without a number plate. No media could talk to him.
Speaking to The Daily Star later in the afternoon, Sefat's uncle Masum Billah said Sefat was with him in Cox's Bazar and they wanted to keep him out of stress for some days.
He said they are happy about the bail, but at the same time, they are concerned about his overall safety, as he is the prime eye-witness to the incident.
Sources said that Sefat and another Stamford student Shipra Debnath have to stay a few more days in Cox's Bazar as the investigating agency will be questioning them.
Lt Col Ashique Billah, director of Rab's legal and media wing, told reporters yesterday that the Rab's investigating officer has already started talking to Shipra and Sefat in this connection.
As they went through a trauma, they will talk to them gradually for further information.
The Rab official further said that Shipra Debnath, who came out in bail on Sunday, gave some "sensitive information" while talking to the investigators.
He, however, didn't share details.
"What is most important is that she said she will fight till the last day of her life to get justice," the Rab director said at a press briefing at its headquarters in the capital's Uttara.
In a Facebook status, Shipra wrote: "I am good to go far for justice. Back to my family. Just allow me some time."
She thanked everyone for their support and empathy.
Shipra's father Nabakumar Debnath believes that police had framed his daughter in a false case and he wants the charges against her to be dropped.
Earlier in the morning, Sefat's lawyer told the court that police didn't find any arms or drugs in Sefat's possession. He is a prime eye-witness of Major (Retd) Sinha's killing. To screen him off, police framed him in a fabricated case.
After the prosecution opposed the plea, Teknaf Senior Judicial Magistrate Court Judge Tamanna Farah granted him bail.
Meanwhile, Sefat's lawyer told the court three cases have been filed relating to one incident, and so it would be good if these cases are investigated by one agency.
The Rab is investigating the murder case filed by Sinha's elder sister Sharmen Shahria Ferdush with the same court on August 5, accusing nine policemen, including Inspector Liaqat Ali of Baharchhara Police Investigation Centre, Teknaf OC Pradeep Kumar Das and Sub-inspector Nandadulal Raxit.
Among 10 witnesses, Sefat is the number one eye-witness.
The documentary film crew was arrested at the scene after police in Teknaf shot dead the team leader Maj (retd) Sinha Md Rashed Khan on July 31.
Sefat, who saw the shooting, was accused in murder and narcotics cases by Teknaf police.
The police's account raised many questions, prompting the government to form a high-level committee to investigate the incident.
Stamford students Sefat, Shipra Debnath and Tahsin Rifat Noor were in Cox's Bazar to shoot a travel video for Sinha's YouTube channel named "Just Go". They were staying at Nilima Resort in Himchhari area on Marine Drive Road.
After Sinha got killed, Ramu police raided the resort and picked up Shipra and Rifat on August 1. Police handed Rifat to his parents' custody, but arrested Shipra under a narcotics case. She got out on bail on Sunday.
Talking to a private TV channel yesterday, Rifat said their documentary was about travel. They had shot several videos and were planning to upload those. On that day, Sinha and Sefat went to Marishbunia mountain to capture some "time-lapse" videos, he added.
He said that they didn't see Sinha using drugs during their long stay and also termed the police cases against Shipra and Sefat false.
Rifat said police took him and Shipra to Cox's Bazar Police Superintendent's Office. Then they were taken to Ramu Police Station.
Sinha, 36, who served in the Special Security Force (SSF) and took voluntary retirement from the army two years ago, was killed in police firing at the checkpost, triggering an uproar across the country.