HC assigns RAB to probe Sagar-Runi killingsStaff Correspondent
The High Court on Wednesday directed the inspector general of the police to hand over the responsibility of investigation into the murder of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi from the Detective Branch to the Rapid Action Battalion.
The bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Jahangir Hossain also asked the Rapid Action Battalion director-general to appoint a competent investigation officer, not below the rank of assistant superintendent of police.
‘The Rapid Action Battalion shall make all effort to complete the investigation as soon as possible,’ said the court.
Besides, the home secretary was directed to set up a committee headed by an official not below the rank of deputy inspector general of police to monitor the activities of the investigation officer as well as the progress of the investigation without any interference.
The committee members will consist of experienced officials of the police, the Rapid Action Battalion and the Criminal Investigation Department, who have credibility in investigation, the court said.
The bench said the monitoring committee will take advice from time to time from senior journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, academicians and non-government organizations and other agencies.
It also said that the Rapid Action Battalion must use advanced technology to track down the culprits.
The court passed the order after hearing from the Detective Branch deputy commissioner (South), Monirul Islam and the outgoing investigation officer, Rabiul Alam, who failed to make any headway in the investigation of the brutal murders in last four months.
The court also expressed its disappointment after examining the case records the police submitted to the bench, which showed no progress in investigation into the killings.
Sagar, a news editor of private television channel Maasranga, and his wife Runi, a senior reporter of another private television channel ATN Bangla, were brutally stabbed to death at their rented flat in the city’s West Rajabazar on February 11.
The couple’s five-year- son survived the attack.
The detective police officers also opined for handing over the responsibility of the investigation to the Rapid Action Battalion, stating that it was very much equipped with updated logistics rather than them.
The court was disappointed to hear the detective officials who said that they had tried their best to ascertain the motive behind the killing and arrest the killers, but failed.
‘I am not directly involved with the investigation. On the court’s order, I talked to officers concerned who informed me that they were yet to get any specific clue of the killings,’ Monirul told the court.
The court observed, ‘If any police is killed, you get the clue. Then why you don’t get it when a journalist or a lawyer is killed ?’
‘The First Information Report lodged primarily by Runi’s brother with the police station had not contained any clue,’ said Monirul.
He also said that the family of the victims could not provide the police with any information on which the police could suspect anybody.
Asked why the guard of the victims’ rented house were not arrested and remanded, Monirul said that many agency members had interrogated the guard but he was not arrested as police could find any clue.
Asked whether police had imposed restrictions on movements of some people soon after the killings, Monirul also replied, ‘There was no restriction on movement at all. We primarily suspected some people but later their involvements were not found after examining evidence and document.’
Asked why the police failed to recover the victims’ looted laptop and mobiles, Monirul said that they had no technology to recover lost items if they are not used.
‘We also contracted the FBI officials working in Bangladesh to recover the victims’ mobile phone but they also said they could not if the sets were not in use,’ Monirul added.
On February 28, the bench, in response to a public interest litigation, issued a rule on the government and the police directing them to explain in two weeks why a direction should not be given to detect and round up the killers and bring them to justice in due course.
The Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh had filed the petition seeking a directive on the authorities concerned to find out the killers and the motive behind the grisly double murder.
On Tuesday, the court directed the DB officials to appear before it with all the confessional statements of the witnesses and the first information report to tell the court about the progress of investigation.
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