Police could not capture the mastermind in connection with the murder of Gazipur City Corporation (GCC) executive engineer Delwar Hossain.
The investigation officer informed the court about the matter in writing earlier. But now police said they would submit the charge sheet to the court once they receive the autopsy report.
Members of Turag police station in the capital have been investigating the much-talked-about murder for five months.
Family of the victim alleged that police did not keep a watch on those they suspected. The family suspects three people, including a friend of the GCC mayor.
The victim's family also thinks there are more powerful men behind the murder.
We have discussed the case more than once. We could not find minimum evidence that there is any mastermind behind the killing
The main planner of murder could be detected if the suspects are caught and interrogated, the family believes.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Shariful Islam said, "We have discussed the case more than once. We could not find minimum evidence that there is any mastermind behind the killing."
In the report submitted to the court, the investigation officer said there may be a mastermind. Regarding this, the commissioner said, "He suspected but nothing was found in the investigation."
On 11 May, engineer Delwar Hossain was killed on the way to his workplace in Konabari, Gazipur from his residence in Mirpur, Dhaka. His body was recovered from a jungle to the west of Bridge No. 17 and 5 in Uttara around 3:30pm on the day.
His wife Khodeza Begum filed a murder case with Turag police station. Police arrested three people in this connection. Two of them are Helal Howlader alias Shahin and driver Md Habib.
Analysing the incident, it was found that Delwar fell prey to the anger of GCC high-ups. Alongside engineer Anisur, Delwar was not on good terms with the contractors. But these things were not taken into consideration in the investigation
On 21 May, they made confessional statements before the court admitting their involvement in the murder. In his deposition, Helal Howlader alias Shahin claimed he was a hired killer.
On 27 May, Delwar's colleague assistant executive engineer Anisur Rahman gave his deposition at the court.
Police said Anisur planned the murder because of his conflict with Delwar at the workplace and three arrested accused carried out it.
Analysing the incident, it was found that Delwar had fallen prey to the anger of GCC high-ups. Alongside engineer Anisur, Delwar was not on good terms with the contractors. But these things were not taken into consideration in the investigation. The investigation officer has applied for the WhatsApp information of a perpetrator to know who are behind the killing. However, there is no instance of receiving such information from WhatsApp.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, investigation monitoring officer and DMP's Uttara division assistant commissioner Shacin Moulik said in the investigation, they found no other person out of three arrested involved with the murder.
They will submit a charge sheet to the court once they receive the autopsy report of the deceased, he added.
Delwar's elder brother Noor Nabi said Delwar was not on good terms with contractors of development works at Konabari in Gazipur. He was afraid of moving alone at night.
He suspects that his brother was killed as he was not willing to be involved in corruption or he may have come to know the corruption of the contractors.
Police in search of WhatsApp call list
On 16 July, investigation officer and Turag police station inspector Sheikh Mafizul Islam applied to the chief metropolitan magistrate court in Dhaka, seeking information of WhatsApp call list and messages of the cell phone used by assistant engineer Anisur Rahman.
In the application, he said the killer could delete messages immediately after phoning or sending messages to the mastermind through WhatsApp. The court issued an order on the day to send the application to the WhatsApp authorities.
Cybercrime division of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit deputy commissioner AFM Al Kibria said there is no guarantee of receiving information from the WhatsApp authorities.
Cause of death not mentioned in confessional statements
Three accused gave confessional statements before the court, but they did not give any information about the cause of the murder. They gave a description of the incident, a source related to the investigation process told Prothom Alo.
On 22 July, investigation monitoring officer Kamruzzaman said Anis is a very cunning person. Maybe that's why he had deliberately skipped the matter in his statement. But during the interrogation, he admitted that the murder was carried out in sequel to the conflict. Their colleagues also ensured this.
Delwar's brother Noor Nabi alleged that police are intentionally trying to limit their investigation within the conflict as a motive of the killing. They will apply to change the investigation team.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, DMP commissioner Shafiqul Islam said, "The involvement of others could not be found. We will settle the case. If the family wants to carry out an investigation with any other agency, they can do so."
Those the family suspects
AKM Haroon Rashid has taken the charge of executive engineer of Konabari in Gazipur after the killing of Delwar. He declined to give information as to how many projects are underway in the area and their costs and the names of contractors.
A source said development projects worth Tk 1.75 billion are going on in the area.
Noor Nabi said Delwar was not on good terms with some of the contractors, and his wife could realise that.
"It is not possible for me to do this. Get the work done by the high-ups," Delwar's wife heard his husband saying over phone.
Noor Nabi said he heard three people excluding the assistant engineer Anis who had enmity with Delwar. One of them is Tota, a contractor of Konabari area. Tota wanted an inflated bill in a work, but Delwar refused to approve that. Another one is Nasir member who had hostility with Delwar over a work of widening a road. Other is Monirul Islam, who is a friend of GCC mayor Jahangir Alam and also known as his personal assistant. Family members heard that Delwar was instructed by the mayor through one of his colleagues to abide by Monirul and associates.
Besides, GCC accountant Golam Kibria on 4 June threatened Delwar’s wife over phone. Delwar’s family alleged that Kibria asked them not to mention the name of anyone other than the three arrested.
Kibria on Tuesday told Prothom Alo, “GCC mayor told me that if anyone wants to know anything about the incident should contact him.”
He denied telling anything else over the matter.
Golam Kibria himself is indicted in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on 13 June 2016. He was incarcerated for three months in connection with the case filed over money embezzlement. According to the law, Kibria, after being named in the charge sheet, should have remained suspended till the case is resolved but he is still working.
Tota contractor’s original name is Md Abdur Rahim. He is the project director of UDC Construction. They are working on a project worth Tk 274.2 million.
He told Prothom Alo that they got the work after Delwar had been transferred to Nagar Bhaban from Konabari. He oversaw their work for around one and a half months after returning to Konabari.
Rahim said there was no question of enmity as they didn’t have any bill pending from Delwar.
Some contractors of GCC said that Monirul and two others oversee the works in the city corporation area on behalf of the mayor
Nasir member’s full name is Nasir Uddin Mollah. He is the councilor of Konabari’s ward no. 9.
Nasir told Prothom Alo that no development work was going on in his area. And, he didn’t have any hostility with Delwar over the road widening works.
GCC mayor’s friend Monirul behaved in the most suspicious way after the murder of Delwar. He was not seen for days after the killing. He came out again once the discussion over the murder subsided.
Some contractors of GCC said that Monirul and two others oversee the works in the city corporation area on behalf of the mayor.
They had an office at the second floor of the Nagar Bhaban (City corporation building). The office is no more there after Delwar murder.
Monirul is in the spotlight
Different sources said Monirul Islam alias Monir is from Gopalganj district but he has been living in Gazipur since his childhood. He used to stay at his sister’s house and study at Bhawal Badre Alam Government College. He had a close contact with the GCC mayor since his student life as both used to study at the same college. Their relations only grew deeper with time.
People who knew Monir said Monir and his brothers were rather humble during student life. But their financial condition changed within a few years. Currently, he has a four-storey building in Bashtola area of Gazipur, six-storey building in Chayakunja residential area and expensive cars.
Some of his close associates said Monir’s life changed, thanks to his close contact with the mayor. None could say exactly what is his profession but many locals think he is a city corporation official due to his involvement with the mayor.
Delwar’s wife on 18 July held a press conference in Dhaka. On that day, an unknown person handed over an eight-page letter to his family. It said that some people were embezzling huge sums of money in the name of fake projects in the city corporation area. Delwar refused to prepare files of those fake projects which angered some influential persons of the city corporation. As a result of that enmity he was killed, the letter alleged.
The letter also claimed that Monirul and his associates are behind the murder.
Prothom Alo tried to contact Monirul over his two mobile phone numbers but both are switched off for a long time.
If any of my close people needs anything, they would come to me. Why should they kill Delwar?
Mayor Jahangir Alam told Prothom Alo that Monirul is his friend, not a personal assistant.
He also said Monirul is his close associate as they studied together. Monirul assisted him in some works.
Asked about Monirul’s alleged involvement with Delwar murder, the GCC mayor said, “If any of my close people needs anything, they would come to me. Why should they kill Delwar?”
He said he would wholeheartedly cooperate with the investigating officers if they need further investigation.
GCC sources said Delwar was attached to the Nagar Bhaban after being transferred from Konabari on 29 September last year. He was transferred to Konabari again five months later.
As a reason for the transfer, the city corporation authorities said Delwar is irregular at the overseeing of development works. But three colleagues of Delwar, on condition of anonymity, said Delwar himself brought that very allegation against assistant engineer Anisur Rahman. Delwar lodged that complaint to the chief estate officer of the city corporation.
But he was transferred on that allegation around seven months later and killed within two months of transfer to Konabari.
* The report, originally published in the print edition of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Galib Ashraf