Name of prime accused, Nayan Bond, who died in a ‘gunfight’ with police in July, has been dropped
Police have submitted in court, two charge sheets in the Rifat Sharif murder case, accusing 24 people, including Rifat’s wife, Ayesha Siddiqua Minni.
The documents were filed with the Barguna Senior Judicial Magistrate’s Court around 4:30pm Sunday by case investigation officer Md Humayun Kabir, an inspector at Sadar police station.
Police, however, have dropped the name of prime accused, Sabbir Ahmed Nayan alias Nayan Bond, from the charge sheet since he died in a “gunfight” with police on July 2, and urged the court to exempt him from the murder charges.
News of the charge sheet submission broke after the SP of the district’s Special Branch of police issued a media statement around 5:30pm.
Case investigation officer Humayun said 10 of the 24 accused were adults and the rest were minors. “In the first charge sheet for the adults, Md Rakibul Hasan alias Rifat Faraji, has been made the No 1 accused and Minni No 7.
“In the charge sheet for the minors, Md Rashidul Hasan Rishan alias Rishan Faraji, brother of Rifat Faraji, has been made the No 1 accused.”
“We have also urged the court to try the minors in Juvenile Court,” Humayun added.
The 24 accused
Asked whether all the suspects police have arrested so far are accused, the police official said they would not disclose the names before the court accepts the charge sheet.
However, according to police sources, the list of adults accused include Rifat Faraji, 23, Al Kaiyum alias Rabbi Akan, 21, Mohaiminul Islam Sifat, 19, Rezwan Ali Khan Hridoy alias Tiktok Hridoy, 22, Md Hasan, 19, Md Musa, 22, Minni, 19, Rafiul Islam Rabbi, 20, Md Sagar, 19, and Kamrul Hasan Saymun, 21.
Also, the list of minors accused include Rishan Faraji, 17, Md Rakibul Hasan Rifat Hawlader, 15, Md Abu Abdullah alias Raihan, 16, Md Oliullah alias Oli, 16, Joy Chandra Sarker alias Chandan, 17, Md Naim, 17, Md Tanvir Hossain, 17, Md Nazmul Hasan, 14, Md Rakibul Hasan Niamat, 15, Md Saiyed Maruf Billah alias Mohibullah, 17, Maruf Mallik, 17, Prince Molla, 15, Ratul Shikdar Joy, 16, and Md Aryan Hossain Srabon, 16.
Families react differently
Slain Rifat Sharif’s father Dulal has expressed satisfaction with news of the charge sheet submission on Sunday.
He said: “I believe police submitted the charge sheet after thorough investigation. I hope the court will give me justice now.
“I demand the maximum punishment for my son’s killers. I also want everyone involved in the killing plot to be brought to book.”
He said police were yet to arrest four of the people accused in the case he filed. “I hope they will be arrested soon.”
Meanwhile, Minni’s father, Mozammel Hossain Kishor, expressed deep frustration after hearing about the inclusion of his daughter’s name in the charge sheet.
Claiming Minni was innocent, he said: “We have fought legally and secured Minni’s bail from the High Court. God willing, my daughter will be free through legal battle.”
He added: “The whole country and the world saw how my daughter tried to save her husband.
“If the court does not, Allah will try and punish those who are conspiring, using their influence and taking money, to prove my innocent daughter’s involvement [in the murder].”
Rifat Sharif was hacked to death on a Barguna road in front of Minni on June 26, a video of which soon went viral on social media, showing Minni's desperate attempts to save him.
The following day, Rifat’s father Abdul Halim Dulal Sharif filed the murder case accusing 12 people. The case took a dramatic turn after Dulal pointed the finger at Minni several days later.
Minni was taken into police custody on July 16. She was interrogated at the Barguna SP’s office and was arrested in the case later that day, when “initial evidence” pointed to her involvement in the killing.
Police so far have arrested 15 people, including those accused in the case, and several suspects.
The arrested include Minni, Rifat Faraji, Rishan Faraji, Chandan, Akan, Hasan, Oli, Hridoy, Sagar, Saymun, Srabon, Rabbi, Tanvir, Nazmul, and Ratul.
The four who are still on the run are Musa, Sifat, Raihan, and Rifat Hawlader.
State appeals against Minni's bail
Meanwhile, the state on Sunday filed an appeal with the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the High Court order that granted bail to Minni in the murder case.
The Attorney General’s Office filed it with the apex court’s department concerned, according to the sources. The appeal mentioned the name of Sufia Khatun as advocate-on-record.
The vacation court of a chamber judge of the Appellate Division is likely to hear the petition on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, the High Court released the seven page full text of its judgment that granted Minni bail. The release of the verdict has cleared the way for the authorities concerned to take the necessary steps for her release from jail.
Minni’s lawyer Mahbubul Bari Aslam said: “I hope she will be released from jail after the judgment’s copy reaches the court concerned in Barguna.
The High Court on August 29 granted bail to Minni on the condition that she remain in her father’s custody and that she does not speak to the media.
The court also said her bail would be cancelled if she violated the conditions.
Additional reporting by Staff Reporter Mizanur Rahman