Salauddin Ahmed Bachchu, the younger brother of Posts and Telecommunications Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, and 13 others were implicated last night in the murder of Narsingdi mayor Lokman Hossain, after a long drama over filing a case.
Kamruzzaman, immediate younger brother of the slain mayor, named Bachchu as the main accused in the case filed with Narsingdi Model Police Station.
But he did not include the name of Khairul Kabir Khokon, president of BNP Narsingdi district unit, who was arrested from his residence near Khilgaon Matir Masjid in the capital Wednesday around 2:50am, hours after Lokman was shot to death.
According to the first information report (FIR), Bachchu and nine other accused hatched the murder plot.
The nine are Abdul Matin, a former municipality chairman and former vice-president of Narsingdi district Awami League; Mobarok Hossain Moba, a leader of Narsingdi city AL; Montaz Uddin Bhuiyan, president of Narsingdi city AL; Nurul Islam, Narsingdi city BNP general secretary who is now in Malaysia; Monowar Hossain Khan alias Moeen, a businessman; Hiron Mia, a Jatiya Party leader; Tareq Ahmed, a BNP leader and former VP of Narsingdi Government College students' union; Masudur Rahman Murad, assistant personal secretary of Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju and also an AL leader; and Kabir Sircar, a top criminal listed by Rab and also an AL leader.
And, the ten ordered the other four to kill Lokman.
The four accused are Ashraf Hossain Sarker, brother of AL leader Abdul Matin Sarker; Mia Mohammad Manzur, an AL leader; Amir Hossain alias Amu, a former Jatiya Party leader; and Mamun, son of late Manik Mia who was a Jatiya Party leader.
In the FIR, Kamruzzaman briefly elaborated how the 14 were involved in the killing of his brother.
While filing of the case around 11:45pm yesterday, it was seen that Lokman's younger brother Shamim was talking with somebody over the phone.
Shamim told The Daily Star that top AL leaders kept pressing him all day long to drop the name of Bachchu from the case and include Khokon's name instead.
This correspondent overheard Shamim telling somebody during one of his phone conversations, “Why you are pressuring me to implicate Khokon? He has nothing to do with it. But since you still insist, I'm implicating two of his close aides.”
During another phone conversation, Shamim Newaz was saying, “I cannot betray with the blood of my slain brother and drop the name of the minister's brother. The minister's brother threatened my brother on many occasions. He was involved in the killing, not Khokon.”
Anwar Hossain, the officer-in-charge, showed up at the police station half an hour after Lokman's brothers arrived there around 11:00pm.
The officer first recorded the allegation as an FIR, not as a case and advised the large number of people present there to go away.
He said he would turn the matter into a case later and give them the case number as he was not able to record it as a case without talking to his higher-ups.
The people present got angry and said they would not leave the place without a case number. The OC then requested for some time and went out of the room to talk with his higher-ups over the phone.
He returned about 20-25 minutes later and agreed to record the complaint as a case.
Earlier yesterday, talking to The Daily Star at Lokman's Basail residence, his younger brother Shamim Newaz and close aides said they were “very much” convinced that Raju and Bachchu were behind the killing.
SM Kaioum, former vice-president of Bangladesh Chhatra League central committee, who was close to Lokman, told this correspondent that they were under pressure from Awami League high-ups to include Khokon's name in the FIR.
“We are under pressure also not to mention in the FIR the names of the telecommunications minister and his brother,” Kaioum, also a former general secretary of Narsingdi Govt College students' union, added.
Several others in the family also echoed the same.
On Wednesday, Shamim Newaz told this correspondent that they would file a case with the police station that very day. Asked yesterday, filing of the case is being delayed due to the tangle over mentioning the names of accused, SM Kaioum and Shamim Newaz added.
A number of associates of Lokman also said Khokon used to admire the mayor very much and they will never buy that he was involved in the killing.
“We don't want that Lokman's assassination will be used for political purposes,” Asaduzzaman, the president of Narsingdi district AL, said.
“We want that the killers will be brought to justice and no innocent will be harassed to serve anybody's political interest,” Kazi Mohammad Ali, religious affairs secretary of Narsingdi district AL, told The Daily Star.
Hours after the killing of Lokman Hossain, a two-time gold medalist as best mayor, police in association with Detective Branch arrested Khokon from his residence near Khilgaon Matir Masjid in the capital around 2:50am of Wednesday.
A chief judicial magistrate court of Narsingdi sent Khokon to custody after rejecting his bail prayer, which was moved by more than a hundred lawyers.
Khokon was shown arrested under Section 54 and police submitted a report to the court, suspecting his involvement in the killing.
Hearing on a prayer to take him into a five-day remand was scheduled for yesterday, but the court deferred it to November 9.
Quoting witnesses, Lokman's family and friends said that on Tuesday around 8:00pm, a group of nine, aged between 25 and 35, took part in the killing.
“Of the nine, one entered the district Awami League office on Sadar Road and opened fire with a sophisticated gun and the eight others stood guards in four groups outside," said Kaioum.
FAMILY ASKS WHYS
Family members and close aides of Lokman Hossain, a two-time gold medalist as best mayor, have raised two questions and called upon the law enforcement agencies to find out the answers.
“As a very popular mayor, my brother had relations with Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju and his brother Salauddin Ahmed. But neither of them or their representatives came to our house to see the body of my brother or to console us,” Lokman's younger brother Shamim Newaz said.
Except for Rajiuddin and his brother, all the lawmakers of Narsingdi attended Lokman's janaza, he added.
“We know the minister is abroad, but why his brother did not attend the janaza? We're almost sure from our sources that the minister's brother is involved in the killing,” Kaioum said.
The family members also asked why there was no electricity only in the district AL office when Lokman was shot.
“Power in the AL office went out just minutes before the assassin sprayed bullets on Lokman. The outage remained for three to four minutes, and the gunman and his gang left the place by the time,” said district AL President Momtaz Uddin Bhuiyan.
“We want answers of these two major questions,” Shamim Newaz said, adding that many things will be clear once they know the whys.
According to the register of the district Palli Bidyut office, there was no load shedding between 7:30pm and 8:00pm on Tuesday in the area where the AL office is located.
An officer of local Palli Bidyut Samity office said someone might have disconnected the electricity line.
Asked about his not attending the janaza and not going to Lokman's house after the murder, Salauddin Ahmed, now in Dhaka, told a Prothom Alo journalist on Wednesday that he usually does not attend janazas.
“Still, I wanted to attend Lokman's but some people by that time pointed figure at my brother Rajiuddin Ahmed, saying he was behind the killing. Thinking that the situation might worsen, I didn't attend the janaza,” Salauddin told the Prothom Alo over the telephone.
The Daily Star found his mobile phone switched off yesterday.
NARSINGDI STILL GLOOMY
A heavy gloom prevailed in the municipality yesterday as locals were mourning for Lokman, “a mayor with a rare personality". The three-day mourning will end today.
People of all ages and professions wore black badges, hoisted black flags on their houses, rooftops, different offices and businesses.
Around a thousand people formed a human chain in front of the Narsingdi municipality yesterday afternoon for over an hour. Officials and staff of the municipality abstained from work for an hour.