Nine days after High Court order, the case is eventually filed after dilly-dallying by police
A case has been filed against former Kurigram Deputy Commissioner Sultana Pervin, revenue collector Nazim Uddin, former assistant commissioners Rintu Kumar Chakma and SM Rahatul Islam, and 35 to 40 unnamed persons, for torturing and attempting to kill Dhaka Tribune journalist Ariful Islam.
Kurigram Sadar police station officer-in-charge Mahfuzer Rahman confirmed the case was filed, dated March 31, under sections 34, 109, 143, 447, 448, 323, 326, 364, 355, 427, and 506 of the penal code. He added that the case will proceed after further investigation.
“We are handling this case with lot of care as the case is very sensational, and the accused are high government officials,” he said.
Section 364 of the penal code holds particular significance in this case since it pertains to kidnapping or abducting in order to murder.
With regards to the arrest of the accused, former senior judicial magistrate Azizur Rahman Dulu said: “In case of sensational offence, police can arrest the accused. As it is a criminal case, police can arrest the accused during investigation like in other cases.”
“Despite the accused being government officials, the accusation is related to work outside of their job responsibilities. Therefore, no prior permission is needed from government or recruiter authority to arrest them,” he added.
He also said: “Police can arrest them for judicial purposes, considering the importance of the allegations.”
Advocate Ishrat Hasan, lawyer of Ariful, said: “We hope that, with this case, an example is made that nobody is above the law; and that criminals, whatever post they hold, cannot misuse their power.”
Ariful Islam Rigan said, “When the criminals face trial justice should be ensured, giving exemplary punishment so that it could be an example in the society.”
Earlier on March 23, the High Court directed police to immediately record a case from Ariful Islam Rigan against former Kurigram Deputy Commissioner Sultana Pervin, revenue collector Nazim Uddin, former assistant commissioners Rintu Kumar Chakma and SM Rahatul Islam, and 35 to 40 unnamed persons, on charges of torturing and attempting to kill him.
On March 13, Ariful was forcefully picked up at midnight. He was blindfolded and tortured mercilessly at the Deputy Commissioner's (DC) office, which was even filmed by one of the associates on order of the then DC. The video triggered a huge outrage across the country. Rigan was also sent to prison by the magistrate.
Following the incident, HC ordered police to take a case over it against the DC and other people involved.
HC also stayed, for six months, the proceedings of the case filed by the mobile court against Ariful, and its order that convicted and sentenced him in connection with the case.
The HC bench of Justice Md Ashraful Kamal and Justice Sardar Md Rashed Jahangir came up with the order and rule, challenging the legality of the mobile court action, following a writ petition filed by journalist Ariful, who was released on bail.