Ilias Ali, Sagar-Runi cases
Lawmen admit failure in investigationStaff Correspondent
Law enforcement agencies before a parliamentary panel on Wednesday admitted that they had failed to make any substantial progress ass yet in the investigation of sensational events such as the disappearance of M Ilias Ali and killings of journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi and the member on the Saudi embassy staff although the minister for home was claiming a significant progress in investigation.
The minister for home affairs, Sahara Khatun, on several occasions in the past two weeks in public claimed a significant progress in the cases but expressed her inability to give details in interest of investigation.
The parliamentary standing committee on the home ministry at its 38th meeting reviewed the development of investigation in the sensational cases of murder of Sagar and Runi, Saudi embassy official Khalaf Al Ali, Narsingdi mayor Lokman Hossain and the 2004 bus fire in front of the Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.
The issue of disappearance of the BNP organising secretary Ilias Ali, which was not on agenda, also came up for discussion.
The inspector general of police, Hassan Mahmood Khandker, and the director general of Rapid Action Battalion, M Mokhlesur Rahman, attended the meeting and they told the parliamentary body that there was no substantial progress in the investigation of the cases but they were trying their best.
Jatiya Party lawmaker Mujib-ul-Haque raised the issue of Ilias’s disappearance at the meeting and asked the police inspector general what the progress they had made in finding him.
‘You [IGP] have to inform the committee of the progress in efforts to find out Ilias. Tell us categorically what specific steps you have taken to find him. Otherwise, tell us that you have failed,’ Mujib said he had told at the meeting. The police chief then said that there was no ‘expected
progress’ in the much-talked-about issue.
As the state minister for home, Shamsul Haque Tuku, sided with the police making a causal comment that what the police could do if the BNP kept him in its custody, a committee member said that a lawmaker had then asked him, ‘If your are confident, bring him from there. People want know what is going on.’
After the meeting, the committee chair, Abdus Salam, at a briefing in the parliament media centre said the committee had sought to know the development in efforts to find out Ilias as people much concerned about the incident. ‘We told them that we are yet to know whether he is alive or dead or staying at home or abroad,’ he said.
The heads of law enforcement agencies told the committee they were trying their best but there was no substantial progress, he said. ‘We have asked them to complete the investigations at the earliest. We told them that people wanted to know about such sensational events and that they needed to act quickly.’
Asked if he would see this as ‘incapability’ of the law enforcement agencies when charges were pressed against BNP leaders in a couple of days after the filing of the cases, he replied in the negative saying that it was matter of law and the speedy trial act, under which the cases were filed against the BNP leaders, warrants that charges should be framed within specific days.
Asked how many drives the lawmen had carried out to find Ilias, the committee chair said he did not know the exact figure but the first drive had been conducted at the request of Ilias’s wife.
The battalion’s director general also faced criticism from lawmakers for failing to crack the killing of Sagar and Runi as yet. Moklesur told the lawmakers that they were working on it.
The home minister, when she visited the house of Sagar and Runi after the murder on February 11, said that the law enforcers had been ordered to find out and arrest the killers in 48 hours.
Forty-eight hours after the minister’s statement, the inspector general of police claimed ‘substantial progress’ in the investigation of killing and gave an assurance of positive news any time.
On April 18, the High Court directed the IGP to give the responsibility for investigation, then entrusted with the Detective Branch, to the Rapid Action Battalion after the detectives had failed to make any headway in the murder case. The court also asked the battalion to make all-out efforts to complete the investigation as soon as possible.
Committee members including Shahara Khatun also found the failure of the lawmen to be ‘insincerity’ in the reinvestigation of the bus fire incident.
Abdus Salam at the briefing said they had also discussed the recruitment of 8,000 more policemen.
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