The Detective Branch of police has sought permission from a Dhaka court to prosecute columnist and activist Farhad Mazhar and his wife Farida Akhter on charges of "filing a false case over his disappearance". Known as a rightist activist and staunch government critic, Farhad Mazhar was found on a bus in Jessore while travelling from Khulna to Dhaka, 18 hours after he went missing from the capital on June 3.
His family alleged in a police complaint, which was later recorded as a case, that he was abducted after he left home early that morning. The final probe report submitted by the investigation officer says the case filed by Farida Akhter is baseless and covers up the actual scene, Sub-Inspector of court police Nizam Uddin said.
DB Inspector Mahbubul Hoque filed his findings with Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate's Court yesterday. He had sought the court's permission to take legal actions against Farhad Mazhar and Farida Akhter for "filing a case with misinformation", according to SI Nizam.
The court has fixed December 7 for hearing the matter. "We submitted the report on Thursday. The allegations made by Farhad Mazhar and his wife have been found to be false and we have asked the court to try them and their accomplices under the penal code," Golam Mostafa, additional deputy commissioner of DMP Detective Branch, told bdnews24.com.
Farida said she was not aware of police's move yet when approached by bdnews24.com yesterday."Police have not informed me anything yet," she said. "It's uncalled for. I have been framed. I want assurance that police have done their investigation in an unbiased manner."
The dramatic disappearance and discovery of the 70-year-old columnist sparked debate among politicians and social media users.
The social media was abuzz with criticism against Farhad Mazhar after the police produced a woman, identified as Archana Rani, in court on July 10. Archana was allegedly traced as part of the law enforcers' investigation into the man's disappearance.
Archana identified herself as a follower of Farhad Mazhar and then told court that he left home on the day of his disappearance to send her money. "The information provided by the woman has matched the police's investigation into the Farhad Mazhar incident," Detective Branch Assistant Commissioner Hafiz Al Asad, investigator for the 'abduction' case, told bdnews24.com.
Earlier, Dhaka Metropolitan Police chief Md Asaduzzaman Mia said detectives were suspicious of the account provided by Farhad Mazhar.Law enforcers have been expressing suspicion about the authenticity of his abduction claim since they discovered him on the bus.
A security footage of him loitering in the New Market area in Khulna in the afternoon of his disappearance further fuelled police's suspicion, said the DMP chief. The account he provided to court is inconsistent with the evidence of the day gathered from CCTV footage, call records and other findings, he said.
As per the penal code, anyone found guilty of filing a false case in an attempt to harm any person or organization will face a jail term of up to two years or/and fine.
Section 209 of the penal code says the penalty for giving false statements to court is a prison term of a maximum of two years and fine.
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