What would happen in Trumps Club
The Trumps Club was on the seventh floor of Abedin Tower in Banani. There was a mosque to the west of the club. Anti-social activities would take place in the club, more than one witness has said. Sohel Chowdhury took side of local Muslims to stop anti-social activities of the club.
According to the charge sheet, Sohel Chowdhury along with members of mosque committee failed to shut the club. Sohel Chowdhury had a feud with Aziz Mohammad Bhai over the matter. The accused threatened Sohel Chowdhury of dire consequences if the activities were hampered.
An unwritten order was issued barring Sohel Chowdhury from entering the Trumps Club after the beginning of his conflict with Aziz Mohammad Bhai at a party on 24 July. Employees of the club informed police of the matter.
Sohel Chowdhury's mother Nur Jahan Begum told the court that anti-social activities would take place in Trumps Club in Banani. Committee of the mosque near the club and local devotees registered a protest.
Conflict between Aziz and Sohel begins
Mirza Mahafuz, the prosecution witness of a brawl between Aziz Mohammad Bhai and Sohel Chowdhury, has given deposition to the court and police.
In the deposition under section 161, he told police that he along with wife went to the club at around 10:00pm on 24 July 1998. At the time, Aziz came to the club. Aziz Mohammad told his wife to sing a song. On the contrary, Sohel Chowdhury and his several friends asked for stopping songs. At one stage, Sohel Chowdhury and his associates moved to the table of Mahafuz. At the time they asked a woman sitting beside Aziz Mohammad Bhai to come up. As the woman was reluctant to come up, Sohel Chowdhury became angry and rushed to beat her.
Another witness Golam Mohammad is a friend of Sohel.
While delivering deposition under Section 164 before the judge, he said Sohel Chowdhury had a quarrel with Aziz Mohammad Bhai before murder. The incident took place in front of him. Moreover, Sohel Chowdhury had quarrels for two to three times with Bunti Islam of Trumps Club. That was settled later. However, Sohel Chowdhury had a brawl with Ashish Roy Chowdhury alias Bottol. Ashish Chowdhury got Sohel Chowdhury out of the club. He also threatened Sohel not to come to the club in future.
Threat over phone before 15 days of murder
Over the murder of Sohel Chowdhury, his mother Nurjahan Begum in the court said Trumps Club was located opposite of their house. On the day of his killing, Sohel Chowdhury returned home at 2:00am. A mosque is in front of the club. Later when he went to the club again, the criminals fired two rounds of bullets and fell down to the ground.
She also said Aziz Mohammad Bhai and Bunti Islam's associates threatened over phone 15 to 20 days ahead of the murder of Sohel. They said the date of Sohel's murder is nearing.
How Sohel Chowdhury was shot
According to the charge sheet, Sohel Chowdhury wanted to enter the club on the day. However, he was sent back. Later Sohel Chowdhury went in front of the club again at 3:00am. Then Sohel Chowdhury was shot dead by the professional killers.
While giving deposition to the police, Abul Kalam, a witness in the case, said firing was opened all of a sudden when seven to eight people including Sohel Chowdhury headed to in front of the club. Bullets hit his stomach. He fainted and fell down to the ground. Nirob and Dayan also received bullets fired by the criminals. Sohel died from the bullet hits. After firing, Imon, Mamun, Liton and Faruqe fled in a vehicle. In sequel to Sohel's quarrel with Aziz Mohammad Bhai, Bunti Islam and Ashish Roy Chowdhury, this murder was carried out by the hired killers.
A brief discussion of the case
Criminals had shot dead Sohel Chowdhury in front of Banani Trumps Club on 17 December 1998. Later in the investigation of detective branch of police, it was found that Sohel Chowdhury was murdered by the hired killers in sequel to the conflict with Aziz Mohammad Bhai, Bunti Islam and Ashish Roy Chowdhury. In the following year of the murder, a charge sheet was given against nine people including Ashish Roy. Two years later in 2001, the trial began. The trial activities came to a halt when an accused moved the case to the High Court.
Two of the nine accused are on bail while the remaining ones are on the run.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested one of the accused Ashish Roy Chowdhury on Tuesday night. After the arrest, RAB said Ashish was trying to flee the country.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.