A Cox's Bazar court has sentenced seven suspended members of the Detective Branch (DB) to 7 years imprisonment in a case filed over abducting and holding a businessman hostage for Tk17 lakh ransom.
Cox's Bazar District Sessions and Judges Court Judge Mohammad Ismail delivered the verdict on Tuesday (20 September). All seven accused were present in the courtroom when the verdict was announced.
At the same time, each of them has been fined Tk1 lakh and additional one-year imprisonment was imposed in default.
"Judge gave this verdict as the allegations were proved. The judge sentenced 5 years imprisonment under section 365 and 7 years under section 386. Both sentences are to be served concurrently. As a result, the sentence will be 7 years," said Advocate Mohammad Jahangir, the lawyer for the plaintiff in the case.
Public Prosecutor Advocate Faridul Islam, the lawyer of the state side of the case, said that on 24 October, 2017, people in plain clothes, claiming to be from the DB, picked up Teknaf-based businessman Abdul Ghafoor in a microbus from Cox's Bazar.
They remanded Tk1 crore in ransom from the businessman's relatives by threatening to kill him in "crossfire". The family agreed to pay Tk. 17 lakhs after debt negotiation. After the money was delivered, Abdul Ghafoor was released at Shamlapur on the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf Marine Drive road the next morning.
Following the incident, Abdul Gafur's family members informed the Army security post of the area. Army personnel caught the microbus carrying the DB members at one of their check posts. The Tk17 lakh ransom money was recovered from them during the stop and search. At that time, DB Deputy Inspector (SI) Moniruzzaman ran away, but the remaining six people were arrested from the scene by army personnel. They were later suspended from the force.
Abdul Gafur filed a case with Teknaf Police Station against Sub-Inspectors (SI) Moniruzzaman and Abul Kalam Azad, ASI Feroze, Ghulam Mostafa and Alauddin and two constables Al Amin and Mostafa Azam. In the first week of August 2018, about 10 months after the incident, the Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI) filed a charge sheet in court against seven DB members.
Advocate Faridul Alam said that after presenting the argument of the case on 5 September, the judge canceled the bail of the DB members who were on bail and sent them to jail and fixed 20 September to announce the verdict in the case.
Abdul Gafur was not present during the announcement of the verdict due to physical illness. However, his elder brother Teknaf Municipality Councilor Moniruzzaman was present. He said that justice has been established through this verdict. Besides, the court highlighted that no one is above the law.
The court in its observation said that there is a lack of moral values among the DB members who have been sentenced.
"It (DB) is an important organization for the state. Every member of the organisation should have moral education. We also call for vigilance so that no such incident never happens in the future," the court said.
The lawyer representing the convicts expressed his unwillingness to speak to the media about the matter.