20 police members killed in 21 years, verdict in 3 cases only

(Clockwise) Fazlul Karim, Shamim Mia, Gautam Roy and Jalal Uddin

It was midnight on 19 April 2010. Assistant sub-inspector Gautam Roy was returning from his workplace at Bangshal police station in the capital to his residence in Old Dhaka’s Wari.

When he arrived in Dholaikhal, he noticed suspicious movements of three people. So, he approached to search them, but one of them shot Gautam on the left side of his chest and the back waist, leaving him dead on the spot. The family claimed it was a targeted killing.

Fourteen years have passed since the killing, but its trial has not been finished yet. Sixteen out of 47 witnesses have given their statements at court so far after charges were framed.

Like the Gautam killing, at least 20 police members were killed over the past 21 years. A total of 18 cases were filed over those killings, while verdicts were delivered in three of those cases and investigation is underway in two cases.

Trial proceedings remain suspended in three cases at the High Court’s order. The remaining cases are pending in court.

Taking advantage of the slow trial, most of the accused walked out of jail on bail with some even fleeing the country.

Tilak Roy, brother of slain Gautam Roy, told Prothom Alo recently that what could be more saddening if the trial of the murder of a police member is also not taking place?

The mystery of the murder of the person, who cracked many cases, was not solved. The firearm that was used to kill Tilak's brother has not been recovered yet. The police filed a charge sheet amid this situation.

There are many reasons for the delay. Police cannot or do not complete the investigation on deadline. It is also the responsibility of police to bring witnesses to courts, but this task is not being carried out properly
Nur Mohammad, former IGP and incumbent MP

Investigation and trial of murder cases have often been delayed in the country. The role of police often comes under question due to the turtle pace of the trial proceedings.

However, police have faced criticism in and outside of the force over delays in the trial of the killings of their own members.

Former and incumbent senior police officials said sensitive cases like the killing of police members are not being settled due to weakness and negligence in the investigation, as well as the lack of appearance of witnesses before courts.

Regarding the delay in the trial, former inspector general of police and lawmaker Nur Mohammad told Prothom Alo there are many reasons for the delay. Police cannot or do not complete the investigation on deadline. It is also the responsibility of police to bring witnesses to courts, but this task is not being carried out properly.

Weakness in investigation

Trials are prolonged in many cases due to weakness and delay in investigation.

Additional deputy commissioner Fazlul Karim Khan was shot to death at his residence in the capital’s Paschimpura Rampura on 29 August 2013. He was the investigating officer of several sensational cases.

After four years of investigation, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Detective Branch (DB) filed the charge sheet against 25 people in 2017, but a no-confidence motion was filed against it.

The court then sent the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for further investigation.

The CID filed the charge sheet against 25 people before the court on 20 May 2018. Later, the court ordered starting trial on 14 February this year, 14 years after the death of Fazlul Karim Khan.

The deposition of only three out of 37 witnesses has been recorded so far. Meanwhile, police are yet to finish the investigation on the murders of two constables Md. Moniruzzman Talukder and Md. Amirul Haque, who were killed in 2023.

Witnesses do not appear

Witnesses are not produced properly before the courts, and mostly police members give depositions in most cases. DB inspector Mohammad Jalal Uddin was shot dead by criminals in the capital's Pirerbagh area during a raid to recover lost arms on 20 March 2018.

So far, 15 out of 35 witnesses gave the deposition in the case, which was filed with Mirpur police station.

Police member Shamim Mia was killed after bombs were hurled at a police van in front of the Matshya Bhaban in Dhaka during a shutdown.

DB police completed the investigation on 17 January 2015 and filed charge sheet against eight people to the court. None of the 59 witnesses gave disposition in this case.

Several accused on bail, several left country

Top terror Zishan Ahmed alias Monti and his cohorts allegedly kill inspector Nurul Alam Sikder and sub-inspector Alamgir Hossain at the Sunrise Hotel in Malibagh in the city on the night of 15 May 2003.

The court started hearing on charge framing against seven accused in 2007. So far, 18 out of 75 witnesses gave the deposition before the court in this case. Police said Zishan fled to Dubai.

The body of inspector Mamum Imran was recovered from the jungle in Gazipur on 9 July 2018. A day before, this Special Branch official Rhamat Ullah was killed at a residence in Banani.

Investigation found his body was dumped in the Gazipur. Police filed the charge sheet in the case on 8 April 2019. So far, 24 out of 38 witnesses gave deposition before the court in this case. One of the accused, Arav Khan fled to India and he is now in Dubai.

SI Shajahan was killed during the clash with Hefazat-e-Islam leaders and activists at Shapla Chattar in Motijheel on 5 May 2013. Only one accused is behind bars while the remaining 24 are on bail in the case. The trial remains suspended following a High Court order.

Regarding this, Supreme Court’s senior lawyer Shahdeen Malik told Prothom Alo that delay in filing of investigation report by police prolongs the trial.

On the other hand, police are used more to serve the political purposes of the government, he added.

* The report, originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna