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CID, SB deny having detained Ilias Ali

M Moneruzzaman

Home secy, RAB seek time to reply to HC rule

Only two, out of 10 government agencies, responded on Sunday to a High Court order asking them to explain before April 29 why the ‘detenu’, M Ilias Ali, a former lawmaker, should not be brought before it to establish that he was not being held illegally, said a law officer.
On April 19, the bench of Justice Farid Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif, after hearing a writ petition
filed by Ilias’s wife Tahsina Rushdir Luna seeking its direction to find out her husband, asked the home secretary, inspector general of police, additional inspector generals of Criminal Investigation Department and Special Branch, Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner, Dhaka deputy commissioner, Rapid Action Battalion’s director-general, Detective Branch’s deputy commissioner and officers-in-charge of Gulshan and Banani police stations to answer the rule.
The CID and the SB submitted separate reports to the government’s solicitor wing at the Attorney General’s office in the afternoon explaining that they had not arrested Ilias Ali, who remained missing since April 17.
‘The CID did not arrest Ilias Ali in any case on his way home at 1:30am on April 18 or torture him in a secret place,’ said additional inspector general of police (CID) Rownakul Hoque Chowdhury in reply to the allegations made in the writ petition. 
‘The Special Branch or its representatives did not arrest the petitioner’s husband, even the matter is not in my knowledge,’ said additional inspector general of police (Special Branch) M Jabed Patwari, in his report. It said that since the SB had not detained Ilias Ali, the question of his being harassed by the agency did not arise.
‘The home secretary and the Rapid Action Battalion asked me to seek time, on their behalf, to submit their replies,’ the government law officer concerned, Motaher Hossain Sazu told New Age.
He also said six other respondents were yet to file their replies although the High Court’s 10-day deadline to do so ended on Sunday.
‘I will submit the replies of the CID and SB to the bench concerned when the court resumes after the hartal is over,’ the law officer added.
Home ministry’s joint secretary Shawkat Mostafa told New Age that the ministry had received the High Court order on April 24, and asked the police and the RAB to submit their replies.         
‘We need time to prepare the replies,’ said the joint secretary.
Ilias Ali, BNP’s organising secretary for Sylhet division, and his driver went missing on April 17.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia alleged that the government agency and RAB picked up Ilias. But prime minister Sheikh Hasina dismissed the allegation saying that the BNP was staging a ‘drama’ over the Ilias issue.
On April 18, police found Ilias’s car abandoned near his Banani residence in the capital and the BNP enforced dawn-to-dusk hartals for three consecutive days on April 22, 23 and 24 demanding that the party leader be returned immediately.
After wrapping up their third day’s hartal on April 24, Khaleda Zia gave the government four days to find out the missing BNP leader and the deadline expired on Saturday.
The main opposition is enforcing fresh two-day back-to-back shutdowns that began on Sunday after its ultimatum was over.
The BNP also staged nationwide demonstrations on Thursday and Saturday to press home its demands for ‘returning’ Ilias Ali.  

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