Friday, 30 September, 2022

Murder turns accidental death!

IO drops FIR-named accused, presses charges against auto driver in murder case

Murder turns accidental death!
Jobeda Begum

The death certificate provided by a government hospital and the report of autopsy conducted at another public hospital described haemorrhagic shock and cardio-respiratory failure resulting from physical assault-inflicted head injuries as the cause of her death.

Jobeda Begum suffered the head injuries after her son-in-law hit her in the head with a wood stick and a number of people witnessed the incident.

However, Mohammad Sohagh, sub-inspector (SI) of Zajira Police Station in Shariatpur and investigation officer (IO) of a case filed over the murder of Jobeda, submitted a charge sheet before a local court turning the ‘murder’ into an accidental death ignoring the death certificate and twisting the statements of 10 of the witnesses.

He filed the charge sheet dropping the names of the four accused named in the first information report (FIR) and instead incorporating the name of only CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver Mojibur Rahman Khan, 50, with the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Shariatpur on July 21.

A locally influential man, who is the relative of the FIR-named accused, had an alleged hand behind twisting the case.

Jobeda, 43, was killed by her son-in-law Parvez Khalashi and his family members at their house at Charkhagutia Sakim Ali Chowkidar Kandi in Zajira upazila on May 10 last.

After two days, victim’s elder brother Halim Madbar filed a murder case against Parvez Khalashi, 29, Salam Khalashi, 60, Munjila Bibi, 49, and Tahmia Akhter, 16, with Zajira Police Station.

The death certificate of Jobeda issued by Zajira Upazila Health Complex on May 10 reads that the death was caused by cardio-respiratory failure due to swelling of the head and multiple trauma following physical assault.

The postmortem report prepared by Shariatpur Sadar Hospital cited the cause of the death as haemorrhagic shock resulting from head injuries which were antemortem and the manner of death could not be ascertained. 

SI Sohagh took statements of 19 witnesses, including three policemen, under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and attached those with the charge sheet.

He allegedly twisted the depositions of Lima Akhter, 22, Hasiya Begum, 55, Bachchu Dewan, 50, Hasina, 38, Shahidul Islam Madbar, 35, Wasim, 36, Malek Molla, 64, Azhar Boyati, 61, and Nurul Amin Boyati, 52, said the witnesses.

Eyewitness Lima is the daughter of the deceased and wife of accused Parvez. 

In the charge sheet, the investigation officer mentioned that Lima in her statement said a CNG-run auto-rickshaw having no registration number hit her mother while she was crossing a road at Charkhagutia. The driver of the vehicle took her to Zajira Upazila Health Complex where she died.

But Lima told the Daily Sun that SI Sohagh and another policeman came to their grandfather’s house at Mohor Ali Hazi Kandi at Purba Naodoba in Zajira a few days ago before submitting the charge sheet and took her signature on a paper where something written beforehand.

She said she gave birth to a baby boy in April this year through cesarean section, which cost them much, after a stillbirth last year. “Although my parents bore a portion of the cost, my husband in in-laws were very angry with them for not giving more money,” she said, adding that Parvez engaged in a brawl with her the night before the incident and asked her to forbade her parent to come their house.

Lima’s mother Jobeda and aunt Hasiya Begum went to Parvez’s house with new clothes and a silver chain for the newborn.

However, Parvez scolded Lima for her mother’s arrival and at one stage, he started to torture her when her mother and aunt protested it, which led to a quarrel between her mother-aunt and Parvez, his mother and nieces, she said.

“At one stage of quarrel, Parvez, my mother-in-law and three nieces swooped on my mother. Parvez hit my mother in the head with a wood stick. I saw my mother falling onto the ground,” she said.

In the statement of Hasiya, the SI stated that she told police that an auto-rickshaw hit Jobeda and she was with her at that time.

But Hasiya told the Daily Sun that it was false and fabricated.

She said Parvez hit Jobeda in the head with a wood stick. “I also suffered slight injury when I was trying to resist them,” she said.

In the statement of Shabnoor, 23, who was made an eyewitness by the SI, it was mentioned that she saw the auto-rickshaw hitting Jobeda.

But Shabnoor told the Daily Sun that she did not see the vehicle hitting her. “I’ve heard that an auto hit the woman.”

Jesmin Akhter, a neighbour of the accused and witness to the incident, said, “I was an eyewitness. I saw Parvez and his mother mercilessly torturing Jobeda. But I heard later that she died in a road accident.”

Asked, SI Sohagh told the Daily Sun that he submitted the charge sheet based on the findings of investigation.

He also claimed that auto-rickshaw driver Mojibur confessed that he hit the victim.

Contacted, Mojibur said he was going to Majhirghat from Kazirhat. “When I reached Chowkidar Kandi, I saw a woman holding another woman. Suddenly, the sick woman fell on my vehicle when she slightly got hit with my vehicle.”

“Later, some people gathered at the spot. I myself and some other people sent the woman to hospital on a van. I also left the spot leaving my vehicle behind in fear of mass beating,” he said, adding that he later came to know from locals that the woman was seriously injured beforehand as her son-in-law and his family members tortured her.

After 3-4 days into the incident, SI Sohagh contacted him through the owner of the vehicle and asked him to go to the police station, Mojibur said.

When he went to the police station, he was arrested and intimidated into giving confessional statement before a court, he said. “I then acted upon SI Sohagh in fear of remand,” he said.

Halim Madbar, plaintiff of the case, said after the incident, police arrested Munjila Bibi, an FIR-named accused, but released her from the police station after two days.

Being unhappy with the role of the IO, Halim submitted an application to the police headquarters on May 25 to assign the Police Bureau of Investigation as the investigation agency, but no step was taken in this regard, he said.

Contacted, Mostafizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Zajira Police Station, told the Daily Sun that the IO submitted the charge sheet as per his findings.

About the release of the accused, he said he was unaware of the matter as he joined the police station recently.