The family of slain Mahmuda Khanam Mitu, wife of former Superintendent of Police (SP) Babul Akter, are worried about the safety of her children as they believe they may be used as key witnesses by the state in the case.
The special police investigative unit probing the sensational 2015 murder has yet to formally interview the children, as Babul’s family has appealed to a higher court to bar the interview process.
The two children, a boy aged 13 and a girl aged 9, are under the custody and supervision of Babul’s father, retired police inspector Abdul Wadud, in Magura at the moment.
Babul has been in jail after Mitu’s father Mosharaf Hossain filed a second murder case with Panchlaish Police Station in Chattogram on May 12, 2021, accusing Babul and seven others of killing his daughter on Jun 5, 2016.
The former police officer was shown arrested in the second murder case on Jan 9 this year. On Jan 25, the Police Bureau of Investigation, or PBI, submitted the final report in the first murder case, which was filed by Babul against unidentified people, without pressing charges against any accused.
Mitu’s father, retired police inspector Mosharraf Hossain, told bdnews24.com that he is worried about the safety of his grandchildren.
“It’s been nearly five years and we haven’t seen them [the grandchildren]. We asked a family court in Dhaka to grant us custody over them. But Babul’s family is employing different tactics to delay the process,” he said.
“My grandson is the lone eyewitness to his mother’s murder. His testimony might prove to be crucial for the investigation officer. That’s probably why Babul’s family is shielding him,” Mosharraf said.
So far, two separate trial courts in Chattogram have ordered Babul’s family to produce the children so that the investigation officer can interview them at a PBI office in Chattogram in the presence of a court-appointed probation officer.
However, each time, Babul’s family had moved to a higher court seeking a bar on the process prescribed by the trial courts.
Defending the stance, Babul’s brother Habibur Rahman said the defence wants the investigation officer to interview the children in the presence of the president of the Magura District Bar Association and Magura’s probation officer at the latter’s office.
“We have approached the PBI before with our preferred interview method. I am not sure why the PBI did not consider the option then. At the moment, we are still waiting for the ruling from the High Court on our appeal,” Habibur, who is a lawyer by profession, told bdnews24.com.
The case’s investigation officer, PBI Chattogram’s Inspector Abu Zafar Mohammad Omar Faruq, however, believes the children may know something which could be crucial to proving Babul’s involvement in the case.
Confirming that the PBI approached Babul’s family twice about the interview, once in Dhaka and another time in Magura, the officer said: “I find these so-called tactics to stall the interview process fishy. I am quite convinced now that the children may know something very important,” he said.
Unidentified assailants shot Mitu dead at the Chattogram city’s GEC intersection on Jun 5, 2016.