Police is clearing Erfan Salim, son of Dhaka-7 lawmaker Haji Md Salim, of charges in two cases. However, Erfan’s bodyguard Zahidul Mollah will not be left off the hook.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) spokesperson and deputy commissioner (media and public relations) Walid Hossain confirmed that Erfan would be cleared of charges in two cases.
Police will submit the final probe report against Erfan Salim in two cases – one lawsuit under the Arms Act and another under the Narcotics Control Act. Zahidul Mollah faces similar charges in two separate cases.
Deputy assistant director of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Md Qayum, stated in the case filed against Erfan at Chawkbazar police station in the capital city, that the Chan Sardar Dadabari building is located at the 26 Debidas Ghat lane of Chawkbazar. RAB had been tipped off that several people were staying at the house in possession of huge amounts of drug. A team of 8 to 10 RAB personnels went to the spot on 26 October 2020 to verify the matter and take legal action. After the raid, RAB arrested the ward councillor of the locality Erfan Salim and Zahidul Mollah along with arms and drugs.
Inspector Delwar Hossain of Chawkbazar Police Station investigated the four cases. He told Prothom Alo, illegal arms and drugs were found in Zahidul’s possession. That is why charge sheet is being filed in two cases against him.
When asked why Erfan was being cleared of charges and whether has been in possession of arms and drugs or not, Delwar was unwilling to respond. He said that senior officials would speak on the matter.
During the raid, the RAB mobile court sentenced Erfan to one year in jail on charges of possessing narcotics, and six months for illegal possession of a walkie-talkie. The mobile court handed Erfan’s bodyguard six months’ imprisonment for carrying an unauthorised walkie-talkie. On 26 October, at a media briefing after the raid, , RAB (legal and media wing) Director Lt Col Ashik Billah said that 38 walkie-talkies, a walkie-talkie base station, a pistol, a pipe gun and other weapons, a pair of handcuffs, a drone, seven bottles of foreign liquor and beer were recovered.
Erfan was the councilor of Ward 30 of Dhaka South City Corporation. He was suspended on grounds of moral degradation and misconduct. Zahidul was the bodyguard of Erfan. Both are behind bars now.
A day before the raid, Erfan, Zahidul and 4 or 5 others allegedly beat up a naval officer in the capital’s Dhanmondi area on the night of 26 October 2020. On the next day, naval officer Wasif Ahmed Khan filed a lawsuit with Dhanmondi Police Station. DMP’s Detective Branch (Lalbagh) is investigating the case. Deputy Commissioner of DMP Detective Branch (Lalbagh) Azimul Haque told Prothom Alo, Erfan did not admit to the charges brought against him in this case.
On Erfan being cleared of charges, RAB legal and media wing director Lt. Colonel Ashik Billah told Prothom Alo, “RAB conducted the raid based on specific allegations. Whatever RAB noticed during the raid has been included in the case statement. RAB is not aware of what issues the investigating officer has taken into consideration.”