Even two years after the seizure of liquid cocaine at Chittagong Port, investigators are yet to find any clue as to who actually had smuggled the drug item and why it had been shipped to Bangladesh.
The questions remain unanswered with confusion over the link of the main perpetrator to the incident deepening as the law enforcers submit counter charge-sheets.
On April 3, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB-7) pressed charges before a Chittagong court after it was ordered on December 7 in 2015 to re-investigate the much-hyped case.
The cocaine haul was uncovered when the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate seized a container carrying 2,140kg liquid cocaine, imported in guise of sunflower oil, in 107 drums at the port on June 6, 2015.
Existence of cocaine in the sunflower oil was found in a laboratory test in Dhaka on June 27, 2015. The next day, Bandar Police Station’s Sub-Inspector Osman Gani in Chittagong filed a narcotics case against Nur Mohammed, the chairman of Khan Jahan Ali Ltd and the alleged importer of the cocaine, and his company staff.
The case was later transferred to the Detective Branch (DB) of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) for investigation. Following a court order on July 14 the same year, the investigators attached the section of smuggling into the case.
DB Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Mohammad Kamruzzaman on November 19 in 2015 had submitted charge-sheet naming eight people, dropping Nur Mohammed as his connection was not found in the smuggling.
But, the respective court rejected the charge in December, ordering the RAB for a fresh probe, whose charge-sheet included the name of Nur Mohammed.
In a latest development, the ADC pressed another charge sheet on May 14 without mentioning the name of Nur Muhammed. No order has been made on the charge-sheet as yet, though.
Considering the contradiction between the two charge-sheets, senior lawyers suspect that the prime accused would benefit from what they call discrepancies in the investigation.
When contacted, senior lawyer Rana Das Gupta, also prosecutor of International Crimes Tribunal, said: “The defence counsel may take advantage of such an ambiguity of the two prosecution authorities during the trial and so will the accused.”
“The counter reports will damage the merits of the case, causing the defence lawyers to use the loopholes in the court to prove their clients to be innocent,” he said.
He demanded that the investigation agencies find out why the two law enforcing agencies submitted counter reports.
Public Prosecutor (PP) of Chittagong Court Advocate Fakhruddin Chowdhury said it is a matter of regret that two law enforcing agencies pressed counter reports.
“Prosecution will face difficulties during the trial proceedings due to the reports”, he feared.
Inspection reveals that the container was loaded on a ship from Montevideo, Uruguay after being imported from Bolivia, which arrived at Chittagong Port on May 13, 2015 via Singapore.
The container, imported by Khan Jahan Ali Limited, carried the number CDHU-9145769/193844, along with the address of Nabi Market at Khatunganj in Chittagong.
Other than Nur Mohammad, six people have already been arrested in the case. They are COSCO Shipping Agency Manager AKM Azad, Mondol Group’s Commercial Executive Atikur Rahman, real Estate company official Mostafa Kamal, Prime Hatchery Limited Manager Golam Mostafa Shohel, security company official Mehedi Alam and C&F company official Saiful Islam.
ADC Mohammad Kamruzzaman said: “The name of Nur Mohammed was dropped as his involvement was not found while probing the case.”
But, when asked, he refused to make any comment over the RAB charge-sheet.
According to RAB-7’s Additional Superintendent of Police Mohiuddin Faruqi, Nur Mohammed was named in the charge-sheet as he was aware of the cocaine consignment, who colluding with the rest accused brought the cocaine and then tried to offload it from Chittagong Port.