Prothom Alo came across a video footage recorded in August last year at Saturia police station in Manikganj. The footage shows a young man crouching in front of table of the police inspector. A policeman with a pistol in his holster, is standing next to him. A man sitting in the police inspector’s chair is seen threatening the man when the other policeman slapped him suddenly.
The man got up from the inspector's chair and started beating the young man. When he fell to the floor, the man held his head down with his foot and started kicking and punching him.
It appears in the Prothom Alo investigation that the man sitting in the inspector's (investigation) chair seen in the video is not a police officer. He is the leader of a gold smuggling gang, Sultan Mia, from Moulvibazar. He illegally smuggles gold into the country from Dubai. The policeman is assistant sub-inspector (ASI) Tarek Aziz of the police station. ASI Tarek has been suspended and inspector (Investigation) Mohabbat Ali has been transferred when the incident came to light after few months.
The youth who was beaten up is Nazmul Hasan, 30, of Tilli village in Saturia of Manikganj. He went to Dubai April last year. He returned to the country after four months in August failing to get any job. Sultan Mia bought him the return plane ticket. In exchange, Nazmul had to carry two gold bars and nine gold bangles weighing approximately nine bhoris for Sultan. But Nazmul did not deliver that gold to Sultan's people after returning home. Later, police got engaged in the matter to find the gold for Sultan.
Manikganj District Superintendent of Police (SP) Mohammad Golam Azad Khan told Prothom Alo last Wednesday, "A VIP requested that gold ornaments were sent from Dubai for one of relatives’ wedding. The man who brought the gold did not deliver to its owner. He is from Manikganj. Later I arrested the accused and recovered the gold.”
SP refused to reveal the name of the VIP. However, a police source said that the so-called VIP and Sultan Mia live in the same area.
When asked how an outsider could sit on the inspector's chair at the police station and beat up Nazmul, SP Golam Azad said, "I am not aware of the incident."
"Inspector Mohabbat Ali has been transferred and ASI Tareq Aziz has been suspended. An investigation committee has been formed in this incident. Further action will be taken after receiving the final report," he added.
When asked about this, inspector Mohabbat Ali said that he was transferred to Kishoreganj last December and does not know anything about the incident. ASI Tareq Aziz could not be reached for comment.
How it began
Shiuli Akhtar, a resident of Nawabganj, Dhaka, filed a general diary against Nazmul Hasan at Saturia police station on 15 August last year for misappropriating 39 bhari of gold. She said, “My cousin Sultan Mia lives in Dubai. He sent the gold through Nazmul. Nazmul stole the gold.” However, the description given by Nazmul of the gold brought from Dubai did not match with that mentioned in the GD.
Following the GD, the police arrested Nazmul at the end of August last year. Nine gold bangles were recovered from him. Police also arrested a recruiting agent, Amir. According to Nazmul, he went to Dubai with the help of Amir. The matter was later settled in the police station for Tk 1.2 million.
Another video footage shows, transaction of money is being made in the presence of Sultan Mia in the OC's room of Saturia police station. Local Awami League leaders were present there along with police officials.
Who is this Sultan?
Manikganj police investigated the matter besides taking action against two police officers in the face of criticism over beating Nazmul by Sultan in the police station. It turns out that Sultan purchases gold from Dubai and smuggles it into Bangladesh through return passengers. He buys them plane tickets in exchange of the task or sometimes pays in cash.
According to sources, Sultan was arrested in a gold smuggling case at the airport police station. It could not be known whether he is in jail or on bail. A source of Manikganj district police says that they did not realise that any VIP would request them to recover smuggled gold. After recovering the gold, the police requested the VIP to file a case, but he refused.
Several officers of the district police involved in the investigation of the case told Prothom Alo that what Sultan did at the police station by using some VIP's influence is totally uncalled for. The police officers involved with the case were vexed when they found out Sultan was involved in gold smuggling. A senior officer of the district police said, "We are looking for Sultan."
Nazmul Hasan said that he wanted to return home after he failed to get any job for four months in Dubai. He had gone to Dubai through a certain Amir who was later arrested. Amir's people introduced him to Sultan. Amir was informed that Nazmul was carrying the gold. Sultan handed him a total of 300 grams of gold. "Sultan smuggles gold," said Nazmul adding that he regularly sends gold through passengers.
Nazmul's father Yar Chan said, he had no idea of his son’s return from Dubai. Sultan Mia's people came to him in a microbus and two motorcycles one day when he first came to know that his son was in Bangladesh.
“They said, your son has our gold with him, give it back. I was surprised to hear them. I told them my son was in Dubai. Then they showed me a video where two gold bars and nine gold bangles were being handed to my son.”
Yar Chan said, police also came to his house with Sultan's people. Later police arrested Nazmul from Manikganj Sadar. Nazmul and Amir were arrested and tortured to recover the gold bars.
The matter was later settled at the police station for Tk 1.2 million.
Former inspector general of police Nur Mohammad told Prothom Alo that those police officers have violated the rules and regulations for personal gain. Action should be taken against them for the sake of discipline in the police force.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat