Banani Rape Accused: Shafat's bodyguard, driver arrested

CIID summons owners of Apan Jewellers, Raintree Hotel

Published : 16 May 2017, 12:49

Jagoroniya Desk

Two more accused in the Banani double rape case were arrested in two places of the capital yesterday evening.

They are Billal Hossain, driver of the prime suspect Ahmed Shafat, and Rahmat Ali, bodyguard of Shafat.

Rapid Action Battalion arrested Billal raiding a hotel in Wari's Nawabpur area around 6:00pm while Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested Rahmat in Gulshan-1 around an hour later.

With them, four of the five accused in the case, filed with Banani Police Station for raping two private university students in a city hotel on March 28, has been arrested.

Shafat, the prime accused, and Shadman Sakif, who introduced the girls to the “rapists”, were arrested in Sylhet on Thursday. Nayem Ashraf alias Halim, the other accused, is still on the run.

Briefing reporters at the Rab Media Centre in the capital's Karwan Bazar last night, Rab-10 Commanding Officer Jahangir Hossain Matubbar said the victims were forced to take alcohol before being raped.

During primary interrogation, Billal also told the Rab that the girls were forced to take contraceptives as well, he said.

The accused tortured a male friend of the girls. Billal made the youth hold some yaba tablets and filmed him with his mobile phone camera. Later, he threatened the youth that he would brand him as a yaba trader if he told anyone about the rape, said the Rab official.

The arrestee deleted the video after the case was filed on May 6. Rab officials, however, said they would try to recover the video, which could be a vital piece of evidence.   

Billal said Shafat asked him to hide in a washroom of a hotel room and film the rape of one of the girls. He, however, claimed that he just pretended that he was filming it, Jahangir said, adding everything would become clear once all the accused were quizzed together.

The Rab official said Billal reached Nawabpur area from Sylhet around 3:00pm yesterday and went to a local hotel. Later, he rented a room introducing himself as Sujon. Acting on a tip-off, a team of Rab-10 raided the hotel and arrested him.

He came to Dhaka to consult a lawyer. “He [Billal] is also one of the witnesses to the incident,” the Rab CO said, adding that the rapes seemed pre-planned.

In primary interrogation, Billal, however, did not say anything about the weapon, which according to the girls, was used by the bodyguard to hold the victims at gunpoint during the rape, Rab officials said, adding, they would hand Billal over to the investigation officer.

Rahmat was arrested by the DB around 7:00pm, said Masudur Rahman, deputy commissioner (media) of the DMP.

A shotgun and 10 bullets were recovered from his possession, Masudur said. Further details about the arrest were not available immediately.

Meanwhile, investigators, quizzing Shafat and Sakif, said they were trying to recover data from their mobile phones. A day after their arrest on Thursday, a Dhaka court placed Shafat on six-day remand and Sakif on five-day remand.

Invited to Shafat's birthday party on March 28, the two girls went to The Raintree Dhaka hotel in Banani around 9:00pm. After the party ended around midnight, Shafat and Nayem raped them in two rooms, alleged one of the two girls who filed the case.

The driver filmed the rape, the bodyguard intimidated the victims while Sakif refrained from informing the hotel authorities about the incident that night, she alleged, adding all the five accused were drunk at that time.

The plaintiff did not mention the name of the bodyguard in the case. Later, Shafat's family said his name was Azad.

According to the victims, the driver and the bodyguard took the girls to the hotel that night from their homes. After the rapes, the bodyguard also went to the girls' homes on several occasions in a bid to keep an eye on them.

DC Shaikh Nazmul Alam of DB (north division) had told this correspondent that the accused, except Nayem, fled to Gazipur together after the case was filed in Dhaka.

Later, they went to Narsingdi and then to Sylhet, where they changed their positions frequently. Shafat and Sakif were arrested in a police raid on a house in Pathantula area of Sylhet city.

Meanwhile, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque yesterday said the state must ensure the security of the two girls.

“It is the duty of the state to provide them with security. Police must ensure their security. If there is any negligence, they will have to bear the responsibility,” he told journalists at the commission's office in Karwan Bazar.

The commission will be with the two girls during their legal fight, he said, adding the probe body formed by the NHRC would submit a “complete report” to the commission either towards the end of this month or at the beginning of next month.

Initially, the team had five members but two more members were added to it later to facilitate the probe, he added.

Meanwhile, customs intelligence asked the owners of Apan Jewellers and The Raintree Dhaka hotel to appear before its office tomorrow.

“The owners will have to appear in our office with all their documents [of their business] around 11:00am on Wednesday,” Moinul Khan, director general of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID), told The Daily Star.

The Apan Jewellers' owners have been summoned a day after CIID launched drives simultaneously at the brand's five outlets in Gulshan, Uttara, Mouchak and Shimanto Square.

Apan Jewellers authorities could not provide valid documents of all the gold and diamonds in the stores, Moinul Khan, director general of CIID, said after the drive.

Customs intelligence officials carried out the raids amid allegations that Ahmed Shafat, son of one of the owners of Apan Jewellers, bragged about being a gold smuggler to the victims.

The CIID is looking into the sources of the gold and diamonds and investigating whether any taxes were dodged.

On Sunday, a team of the CIID raided The Raintree Dhaka hotel and seized 10 bottles of liquor from a room. The hotel doesn't have any licence for selling liquor. It has so far collected Tk 8.37 lakh in VAT from customers, but paid only Tk 9,326 to the government, the CIID official said.


Source: thedailystar

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