Babul Sheikh, 55, is yet another victim like Jaha Alam. He was implicated mistakenly by the police 17 years ago and was finally released free by Natore court on Thursday.
The additional district and session judge Md Saiful Islam Siddique read out the verdict to acquit Bablu Sheikh and compared the incident with the case of Jaha Alam who languished in jail for three years instead of the actualy criminal in 26 corruption cases. Jaha Alam was later acquitted following a a court order on 4 February.
Bablu Sheikh was arrested in a case instead of Shree Babu in connection with a case filed with Singra police station in 2001. He was jailed for two months and later granted bail.
Incidentally, Prothom Alo published a report on this matter on 23 July in 2016.
Citing Bablu’s suffering as a reflection of Jaj Mia and Jaha Alam cases, the court said, the concerned police officer has shown extreme negligence while carrying out his duties to arrest Bablu Sheikh who is a Muslim by birth instead of Shree Babu.
The verdict also read, the officer-in-charge at the time did not verify the documents and identity of the accused before signing in the papers. It also mentioned that the copy of the relevant papers was not attached with the documents submitted in court.
The court observation further read, the investigating officers, sub-inspector (SI) Mominul Islam and SI Helena Parvin, did not verify the arrestee’s name and other facts while filing the charge-sheet of the case. Besides, the defence lawyers, despite knowing that Bablu was charged in the case mistakenly, ensured his bail in the false name, Shree Babu.
SI Helena Parvin, however, has not complied with the court's order to investigate and report the arrest of the wrong person. The court did not take action against the persons responsible for the incident. During the trial, the judge also criticised the previous verdict done hurriedly without verifying the accused.
The sessions court, after the verdict, passed an order to take action against investigating police officials, the then OC of the police station and other persons responsible for the arrest.
The victim can now move on to the higher court demanding compensation for his suffering, the judge said.
The court ordered the authorities to send the copy of the verdict to the superintendent of police in Natore, deputy inspector general, Rajshahi range and inspector general of police to take measures in this regard.
The previous verdict against Shree Babu, however, remains the same in the latest verdict of two years of imprisonment.
According to the court documents, six people including Shree Debdas's son, Shree Babu had a clash with Kazi Abdul Malek of Gangoil village of Sadar upazila. Kazi Abdul Malek filed a case against Babu and six others at Natore police station.
Police arrested Bablu Sheikh in place of Shree Babu of the same village on 7 November 2002. After six days, Bablu Sheikh was granted bail as Shree Babu without informing the court about the mistake.
Later, the court proceedings against Bablu Sheikh continued. On 23 June 2016, the court sentenced Bablu to two years rigorous imprisonment. Bablu Sheikh was sent to jail from court the same day. He later appealed against the verdict in the district and sessions judge court. The court granted him bail until the hearing. The judge announced the verdict in the case following a hearing Thursday morning in the presence of Bablu Sheikh’s family and media persons.