Sporting an aquamarine shirt, glasses rimmed with the same colour and a pair of black trousers, broadly-smiling Shafik Rehman appeared before the court yesterday.
He entered the courtroom packed with around a hundred of his well-wishers around 3pm.
Metropolitan Magistrate Muhammad Mazharul Islam stepped in at 3:07pm.
At the beginning of the court proceedings, Shafik Rehman's lawyer Sanaullah Miah sought the court's permission to allow his client to sit on a bench as he was octogenarian and was physically unwell.
The judge allowed Shafik Rehman to sit down while his wife Taleya Rahman, executive director of Democracy Watch, an NGO, sat next to him.
General Recording Officer Sub-Inspector Jalal Uddin read out a remand prayer and concluded his prayer within two minutes.
In the remand prayer, Investigation Officer ASP Hasan Arafat said that they had received primary information that Shafik Rehman had plotted the abduction and murder of Sajib Wazed Joy, the prime minister’s son and ICT affairs adviser.
As more planners, financiers and inciters were involved in the conspiracy at home and abroad, police need to grill him to learn about the others’ identities, he added.
The remand prayers said, in between anytime before September 2011 and to date, Jatiyatabadi Samajik Sangskritik Sangstha (Jasas) Vice-President Mohammad Ullah Mamun and some other top leaders of the BNP and its allies had been hatching plots to abduct and kill Joy in America.
They met at different places – at Jasas office in the capital’s Paltan, New York City and different places inside the country, the prayer said.
They asked Mamun’s son Rizvi Ahmed to carry out the plan with the finance from the BNP and its alliance leaders. Rizvi was nabbed in America and was sentenced to 42-month imprisonment by a court.
During the trial, Rizvi told the American court that he had obtained some information about Joy from an FBI agent by bribing him. He sold the information to a Bangladeshi journalist, a political ally and a private detective for $30,000.
Shafik Rehman was that Bangladeshi Journalist, the remand prayer claimed.
“Shafik Rahman is the ex-editor of the Bangla Daily Jai Jai Din. He is an influential person at home and abroad. The case is very sensitive and important. If he is freed on bail, he will destroy documents of the case and influence the witnesses at home and abroad hampering the investigation,” the remand prayer said urging the court to confine him to jail custody until the end of the investigation.
Meanwhile, defense counsel Md Sanaullah Miah filed a bail petition before the court but the court rejected it after the hearing.
Sanaullah in his argument said Shafik Rehman is not only a person aged 82 years, but his name was not also in the First Information Report (FIR) or the General Diary (GD).
Rehman is a respected journalist, one of the organisers of the Liberation War and played a crucial role during the anti-Ershad movement, Sanaullah said, adding that Shafik Rehman’s father Saidur Rahman was a teacher of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The defense lawyer said that his client could not be involved in the planning of kidnapping Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
He said that Rehman is reputed inside and outside the country and will certainly obey the conditions of the bail.
He also said that the incident took place in America in September 2011 and after that police filed the GD with Ramna police on May 31, 2015.
After investigation, a regular case was filed with the Paltan police on August 3, 2015.
Sanaullah then argued: “What is the place of the occurrence? According to the law, if the Investigation officer does not find any clue to that in 120 days the allegation turned out to be baseless.”
After hearing both the pleas, Magistrate Mazharul Islam passed an order of the five-day remand in police custody.
The magistrate, however, asked the police to interrogate the accused carefully considering his age and ailment.