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Road accident culprits go unpunished

  • Published at 09:46 pm July 28th, 2019

On May 11, 2012, Bibhash Chandra Saha, 45, a senior reporter of The Independent, was killed in a road accident after a bus rammed into his motorcycle

Suspects in road accident cases go scot free without witnesses, faulty probe reports, and the negligence of police.

Journalist Dinesh Chandra Das, 47, a senior reporter of Bangla daily ‘Amader Shomoy’ was killed when a bus hit his motorcycle from behind and ran him over  at Kakrail in Dhaka  on January 08, 2012.

Dinesh was on his way after dropping off his class-III daughter at Viqarunnisa Noon School in Bailey Road.

The husband of Dinesh’s sister–in-law, Sushen Chandra Das, filed a case with Ramna police station against bus driver Badsha Mia on January 09. 

Sushen in his statement before a Dhaka court on July 23, 2013, sought justice for his brother. But the case investigation officer, Sub-inspector Abdur Rouf, one of 15 prosecution witnesses did not show up in court for the hearing.

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Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Abu Sayeed delivered the verdict acquitting the accused for having no evidence in the case.   

The court in its verdict mentioned that the plaintiff of the case gave his deposition that the bus driver Badsha Mia drove recklessly and killed Dinesh Das, hitting him from behind. But the witnesses were not eyewitnesses in the case.

Nor did all the witnesses or the investigation officer testify, and the prosecution failed to produce eyewitnesses. As such, the allegations brought against Badsha Mia were not proved in the case, the court said.   

On May 11, 2012, Bibhash Chandra Saha, 45, a senior reporter of The Independent, was killed in a road accident after a bus rammed into his motorcycle in front of Star Kabab Hotel and Restaurant on Road-2 in Dhanmondi, Dhaka.

Bibhash’s brother Rathindanath filed a case against bus driver Sajal Hawlader and helper Safiqul Islam with Dhanmondi police station. 

Following investigation, Dhanmondi police submitted a charge sheet against the accused but the court acquitted the accused as none of the witnesses showed up to testify in the case.

Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, former chief editor and managing director of state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), was killed in a road accident on his way to the ATN Bangla office in Karwan Bazar by bus to attend a talk show program on November 29, 2014.

The bus recklessly pulled away, before Zaglul could disembark safely, causing his death.

Fruitless efforts 

Following public outrage over the incident, the government formed a five-member probe committee that made a 15-point recommendation, including ensuring adequate bus stops and strict monitoring of traffic by law enforcement. No recommendations have been implemented yet.

A case was filed for the death of Zaglul but police on May 31, 2015, submitted a final report to the court, saying they could not identify the bus and its driver.

Like the three journalists, many other road accident victims are denied justice for want of witnesses, faulty investigation, and negligence of concerned officials.  

Sources at Bangladesh Police Headquarters said annually, only 4 to 5 percent road accident cases see convictions. Last year, 2,609 accident cases were filed across the country, 2,562 more than the previous year.

Also Read- Roads of death

Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge court Public Prosecutor Abdullah Abu told Dhaka Tribune that a large number of cases are settled out of court, resulting in poor conviction rates. In other cases, the accused are acquitted because of faulty investigations,” he said.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on June 12 told Parliament that on average, 2,500 people die every year in road accidents across the country.

He also said 25,526 people were killed over the past decade, while 19,763 suffered injuries in road accidents.