Tk 1.4m seized in drug-raids vanishes into thin air

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The police recovered Tk 1.47 million and 500 grams of heroin in an anti-narcotics drive at the residence of drug peddler Saddam in the Geneva camp in Mohammadpur on 12 April.

In the absence of Saddam, his sibling Akash and father Akbar were taken to the police station and were accused in a case.

But the police mentioned a tiny amount – only Tk 5,000 – of recovery in the case statement and excluded Saddam from the list of accused. They intentionally concealed the remaining amount and embezzled it.

Sub-inspector Tarek Jahan Khan, the then in-charge of Mohammadpur police outpost, led the drive at Saddam’s residence in the early hours, while constable Juyel Bhuiyan carried the money in a red polybag from there.

The embezzlement came to light through a departmental investigation. Since then, SI Tarek Jahan Khan was transferred to different units – Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station, Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), and Armed Police Battalion (APBN).

Asked about the issue, the assistant commissioner of the DMP’s Mohammadpur zone, Azizul Haque, claimed to be completely unaware about the drive and the subsequent embezzlement.

In a conversation with Prothom Alo, another police official said the incident came to light after a long time. He confirmed that all police officers are aware of the issue, but turn a deaf ear to queries due to its sensitivity.

Case fabricated to embezzle money

The investigation found that the entire drive and the subsequent case were planned to embezzle the money. One of the witnesses mentioned in the case was not present at the scene, while the case statement does not match the disclosure of another witness.

According to the case statement, the policemen recovered 500 grams of heroin and Tk 5,000 that were concealed under the mattress in Akash's bedroom. During the drive, Golam Kasai and Jahid, two accomplices of Akash, managed to flee the spot and the police seized the drug and money in presence of the witnesses.

Moazzem Hossain, a witness in the case, told Prothom Alo that the police went to the residence of Saddam early in the morning and found it under lock and key. The cops, along with a source, broke into the residence and recovered a sum of money and heroin from Saddam’s room.

He, however, does not know the amount of seized money and the quantity of heroin as the police did not count it there.

Akash was sleeping in his room on the second floor during the drive. The police woke him up and took a signature on a blank paper, Moazzem added.

However, the case statement did not mention the incident of breaking into the locked residence.

Sohel, a police source, said SI Tarek Jahan called him over the phone and asked to break the lock. He left the scene after breaking the lock and has no idea about other issues.

Anwar Hossain alias Kallu has been listed as a witness in the case, though he was not present at the scene during the incident. He, a convicted drug peddler, told Prothom Alo that SI Tarek Jahan met him at the entrance of Geneva Camp at 9:30 am on the day and took his signature on a page.

He said categorically that he was not present at the scene during the drive and has no idea why he was asked to sign on the paper.

Prothom Alo reached out to the drug peddler – Saddam Hossain – for further clarification. He claimed that his brother and father have no connection with drug peddling, and he was absent during the drive.

However, he earned Tk 1.47 million by selling drugs and kept it in the residence to pay the suppliers.

He also claimed that his brother is a fish trader and father a rickshaw puller, with no criminal records.

Contacted, SI Tarek Jahan Khan told Prothom Alo that many rival groups emerged in the Geneva Camp as he conducted a number of anti-narcotics drives there. The allegations are propagated by those rival elements.

He maintained that the case was filed in line with the actual recovery and arrests. He denied any involvement of false witnesses in the case and made a counter-allegation that the individuals associated with drug-peddling mentioned a higher amount intentionally.

Drug peddlers made witnesses

There are allegations of conducting ‘arrest-business’ in Geneva Camp against SI Tarek Jahan. According to sources, constable Juyel Bhuiyan used to collect money on behalf of SI Tarkej Jahan.

His sources, including Kalim Jambu, Anwar Hossain alias Kalu, and Sohel, were also involved in the business. They were common witnesses in the cases recorded by SI Tarek Jahan.

According to the departmental investigation, Kalim Jambu had a personal feud with Golam Kasai and Jahid. He tactfully got them arrested in the fabricated drug recovery case.

It was learnt that SI Tarek Jahan had colluded with an inspector of Mohammadpur police station to embezzle the seized money.

Contacted, constable Juyel, who was transferred to Tejgaon industrial police station, denied his involvement in the ‘arrest-business’. He also could not recall any drive at Saddam's place.

A police officer of Mohammadpur police station said SI Tarek Jahan was made incharge of Mohammadpur police outpost as per recommendation of a high-ranking officer of Tejgaon Division.

He went rogue as no one used to take any action against him due to his direct connection with the high-ranking officer.