Gaibandha police has allegedly handed over a trader to a ruling party leader for his failure to pay debt. The leader allegedly kept him confined to his house, and almost a month later, the man was found dead there.
The body of Hasan Ali, 45, was found hanging in a toilet of ruling party leader Masud Rana's home in Bollomjhar area of Gaibandha town yesterday.
Police detained Rana, deputy office secretary of Gaibandha Awami League, around noon yesterday.
The cops were seen dealing with the matter rather casually.
Rana was being taken to the police station on a motorbike and with no cuffs. It was only after locals protested and blocked the policemen that the cops put handcuffs on him.
Police claimed that a murder case was going to be filed against Rana.
Hasan, son of late Hazrat Ali, resident of Thanapara area, was an owner of a shoe store in the town.
Mahfuzar Rahman, officer- in-charge of Gaibandha Sadar Police Station, said on information that a body was hanging in the toilet of Rana's house, a police team went there and recovered the body. They sent the body to Gaibandha General Hospital for autopsy.
He said the family of the deceased complained that Rana killed Hasan Ali. "Besides, we recovered the body from Rana's house that's why we detained him," he said.
While talking to reporters during the recovery of the body, the victim's family alleged that Rana abducted Hasan from Lalmonirhat on March 5 and kept him confined to the house.
"Rana also tortured Hasan," AKM Mamunur Rashid Kollol, brother-in-law of the deceased, told The Daily Star.
"Hasan owed some money to Rana. He was putting pressure on him to pay the interest, which is around Tk 5 lakh. But Hasan could not pay. That's why he took cover at his younger brother's home in Lalmonirhat," said Kollol.
He alleged that Rana and his people abducted Hasan from his younger brother's house on March 5 and kept him confined to Rana's house.
After learning about the matter, Hasan's wife Beethi Begum, 35, went to the police station on March 6 and filed a complaint. She demanded Hasan be rescued from Rana's home.
"Police rescued Hasan from Rana's home on March 12 and kept him in custody for that night. The following day, police asked us to go to the police station with Tk 2 lakh to free Hasan," said Kollol.
"On March 13, my wife Lipi and Beethi went to the police station where ASI [assistant sub-inspector] Md Mossaraf and inspector [investigation] Mojibur Rahman demanded the money be paid to Rana. But they had no money.
"Lipi and Beethi wanted to bring Hasan home but the police did not let him go."
Kollol alleged that police later handed Hasan over to Rana.
Beethi claimed that Rana, aided by police, put pressure on her to sign a blank cheque and a blank piece of paper to have Hasan released.
"As I refused, police handed my husband over to Rana again," she added.
Inspector Mojibur refused to talk about the matter. He suggested this paper contacts OC Mahfuzar.
OC Mahfuzar refuted the allegation.
He said they held a meeting with Hasan, his wife, and Rana at the police station. During the meeting, the couple failed to pay the debt and all of them left the police station, he said.
"We did not hand Hasan over to Rana," he said.
Md Elius Ziku, additional superintendent of police (Gaibandha sadar circle), told The Daily Star yesterday that police tried to broker a settlement at the police station.
Regarding the allegation, Ziku too said police did not hand Hasan over to Rana.
"Police wanted to hand Hasan over to his wife Beethi but she did not take him. Later, Hasan went out of the police station and we do not know where he went after that," said the additional SP.
Kollol said that they would file an abduction, torture, and murder case against Rana and another case against ASI Mossaraf and Inspector Mojibur for harassment.