Reluctance to bring Arav Khan back to country before parliamentary election

Rabiul Islam alias Arav Khan

The government does not any interest in taking steps to bring back Rabiul Islam alias Arav Khan, the absconding accused in police officer Mamun Imran Khan’s murder case, from Dubai before the next parliamentary elections.

A top-level government source told Prothom Alo that there might be complications if Arav is brought back to the country at the moment. Out of such fear, the government is silent on this issue for now.

In reply to the question what kind of complications could arise, the source told Prothom Alo that if Arav is brought back to the country now and if he takes names of influential or vital persons of the ruling party during interrogation, it would create an uneasy situation before the parliamentary elections. That is why, the government does not want to proceed with the issue right now.

Officials of the home ministry, however, say that bringing back Arav won’t be that easy even if the government is keen on the matter. The reason is, despite being a Bangladeshi by birth, Arav is now staying in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) using an Indian passport.

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According to the Indian passport, his name is ‘Arav Khan’. Bangladesh's national identity card, on the other hand, mentions him as ‘Rabiul Islam’. Because of these reasons, even if the authorities in Dubai detain Arav for some reasons, it won’t be easy to extradite him directly to Bangladesh.

Asked, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Prothom Alo on Sunday, “A lot of things happen every day. While we work on one incident another phases out of the focus. But rest assured I will look into the matter why no action is being taken in this regard.”

The home minister also said that he could not know about any further progress in this matter since the international police organisation, Interpol, issued a ‘red notice’ against Arav. If India does not cooperate in this regard, it would be difficult to bring him back to the country, he acknowledged.

Arav is familiar as a gold trader in Dubai. In a grand ceremony on 15 March this year, he opened a gold shop named ‘Arav Jewellers’ at Dubai’s New Gold Souk. He invited a number of stars from Bangladesh's sports and entertainment industries in the event. That brought him into the limelight. Later, reports of taking an initiative to bring him back to the country came out.

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Inspector Mamun Imran Khan of the Special Branch (SB) of police was murdered in a flat in capital’s Banani area on 8 July 2018. His half-burnt body was recovered from Gazipur’s forest the next day.

In this regard, Mamun’s elder brother Jahangir Alam Khan filed a case with the Banani police station. After investigating the murder case, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)’s Detective Branch (DB) submitted a charge sheet against 10 people, including fugitive Rabiul, in the court on 31 March 2019. The case is now undergoing trial at the Dhaka court.

According to police, Rabiul fled to India after Mamun’s murder. Later, he moved to Dubai in the UAE with an Indian passport taking the name, Arav Khan. He is now staying in Dubai as an Indian citizen.

Sources from the detective branch of DMP told Prothom Alo that there is no such interest among the government’s high-ups to bring back Arav Khan. So they have stopped sending letters on this matter. They seem to believe that there will be no further communication on this issue before the upcoming national elections.

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On the issue of what will be the procedure of bringing Arav back to the country, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun had told Prothom Alo in last March, “We must first determine what’s the attitude of the Dubai government. He can be brought back through negotiations. Discussion is going on, let's see what happens.”

As part of the process to bring Arav back, the home ministry had sent a letter to the Indian High Commission in Dhaka back in March to revoke his Indian passport. At the request of Bangladesh, the Interpol had also issued a ‘red notice’ against Arav in the same month.

Dhaka’s special tribunal-14 on 9 May sentenced Arav Khan to 10 years’ imprisonment and fined him Tk 10,000 in an arms case. Sources-related to the court said that Arav was arrested with arms on 28 January in 2015. The police had filed a case with Ramna police station over the incident.

The charge was framed against him in the case on 10 May of the same year. Rabiul secured bail from High Court on 24 June that year. However, his bail was revoked on 18 January 2018 for failing to appear before the court and later the court sentenced him in absentia.

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