Locals and the relatives of Abdul Latif said he was a popular figure among the local people. He would occasionally receive death threats. On the fateful night of 11 November, Latif went to Mehedi’s house to drop him off after electioneering in Banibaha bazar. The power went out at around 11:45pm leaving the whole area in darkness. Miscreants fired two bullets at Latif from the front immediately after he dropped Mehedi. As Latif continued on his way, three more shots were fired from behind. He succumbed to the injuries on the way to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Latif identified Morshed, Simanta, Manir, Litan, Jakaria, Hossain, Munshi and some others as his killers. His statement has been recorded on the mobile phone.
Latif’s wife Shefali Akhter filed a case with Rajbari sadar police station naming Morshed the prime accused and naming some others.
Shefali was later elected chairman of Banibaha union parishad unopposed.
Prime accused Morshed is the son of Habibur Rahman, a former chairman of Banibaha union parishad and a leader of BNP.
Police arrested five accused over the case so far.
Police said Latif’s associate Mehedi has been detained in the course of the investigation.
Prothom Alo correspondent talked with Tapashi on Thursday. She said Mehedi was inside the house at the time of murder. On hearing screams, they initially thought robbers may have attacked their house but they later found people carrying Latif to the house, soaked in blood.
Tapashi said a team of police, led by Rajbari Sadar police station’s officer-in-charge (OC) Shahadat Hossain, came to their house within a week of the incident. Sub inspector (SI) Hiran Kumar Bishwas wanted to talk with Mehedi. The police later took him away. As he did not return home that night, Tapashi went to the police station, the SP’s office and other offices of law enforcers the following day.
“I found the police had tied him up and were beating him. They were beating him brutally and trying to make him confess that he murdered Latif chairman.”
“Once I reached the police station, they took away my mobile phone. They detained Mehedi and me in two adjacent rooms. I could see and hear everything as the rooms were separated by a glass partition,” Tapashi added.
She alleged that police were trying to frame Mehedi as the murderer.
Tapashi said, ‘Police were beating him and saying “tell us where the weapon is? Your wife is here. We will also file a case against her. Confess that you committed the murder.”
They brought Mehedi to me beating him, while he told me, “I’ve done nothing.”
Tapashi said police pulled Mehedi’s beard hard and extracted his nails. Six to seven policemen threw the blindfolded Mehedi to the ground and trampled with their boots. At the midnight, police said Mehedi would be sent to ‘crossfire’ and Mehedi was taken away. He was brought back after a while.
Taposhi claimed additional police superintendent Salauddin, OC Shahadat Hossain and detective branch inspector Pranbandhu Biswas and SI Hiron Kumar Biswas entered the room where she was detained at around 4:00am.
She said, "Another police member, from Dhaka, sat very close to me with others around. They were uttering filthy words while talking about us [husband and wife] and our child claiming that I have an extramarital affair."
At that time, police members were also making obscene gestures with their hands, Taposhi alleged.
"They asked me to stand up. I informed them I was two months' pregnant. After hearing this, the police officers left the room except the one who came from Dhaka. While leaving, the the others told him, 'We've left her in your care.' Then they locked the door," she lamented.
She also said, "When everyone left the room, the police officer with two cell phones in hand threatened me saying 'Do you know me?' Then he asked me 'Do you want to see something?' I didn’t understand what he said. So, I asked, what will I see? Then he replied, 'Do you want to be raped?' After hearing this, I begged him not to harm me. Then the officer left the room after slapping me."
When Taposhi's father came to the police station the next day at around 8:00am, the police members gave him some fabricated information about the couple. Later, Taposhi was allowed to go home after signing a bond on the white paper while Mehedi languished in jail.
Rajbari police superintendent MM Shakiluzzaman told Prothom Alo that the investigation over the Abdul Latif murder case is going on considering all facts. Although his name [Mehedi] wasn't mentioned in the deposition given by Abdul Latif before he was killed, his involvement was mentioned in the investigation. So, he has been detained.
However, MM Shakiluzzaman denied the allegations Taposhi made. Pranbandhu Biswas and Hiron Kumar also refuted Taposhi's allegations of they using offensive words and threatening her with rape.
OC Shahadat Hossain said Taposhi was locked in argument with Abdul Latif before he was murdered. She threatened him before all that 'she will teach Latif chairman a good lesson.'
When asked, Shahadat said the allegation of detaining Taposhi in police custody is not true. No obscene remarks were made to her. Tapashi did not want to leave the police station without her husband. So, she was at the police station at night.
Talking about the murder case, Taposhi told Prothom Alo that "Police have not questioned any of those who would benefit from the murder of Abdul Latif. It is yet to be confirmed why the electricity was disconnected at the time of killing Abdul Latif."
"An audio record over the murder has been leaked. Investigators have no interest in verifying that. On the contrary, my husband and I were detained at the police station and tortured. In this regard, I have formally lodged a complaint with the IGP's Complaint Cell. I want justice. "
*This report, originally published in online edition, has been rewritten in English by Galib Ashraf and NH Sajjad.