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Suspects in Major Sinha murder in court as judge starts reading verdict

Pradip and Liakat Ali, the head of Baharchhara Investigation Centre under Teknaf Police Station, are the key suspects in the case.

Seven police officials, 3 members of the Armed Police Battalion, or APBn and 3 Teknaf locals are also suspects named in the case.

Sinha’s sister Sharmin Shahria Ferdous is present at the court with her husband. She has called for the death penalty for those involved in the murder.

Judge Mohammad Ismail of the Cox’s Bazar District and Sessions Judge’s Court entered the court at 2:24 pm.

The families of some of Pradip’s other victims held a demonstration in front of the courthouse to call for his death as well.

About 30 to 40 people lined up near the entranceway to the district court around 10 am on Monday, the day of the verdict.

The protesters claim to be the families of the people Pradip killed and terrorised under the guise of an anti-drug campaign in the area. Pradip was known for threatening to kill people in staged gunfights with law enforcers and extorting their families for money.

Some of the protesters were carrying photographs of the loved ones killed in these alleged gunfights.

Strict security measures were undertaken when the suspects of the murder case were brought to the court from district jail on Monday.

In July 2020, officers of the law in Cox’s Bazar shot and killed retired army officer Sinha in an egregious abuse of their authority, sparking a public outcry.

Sinha, 36, was a member of the Special Security Force tasked with guarding the prime minister. Sinha had gone into early retirement to pursue his personal interests.

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Fifteen policemen, including then-chief of Teknaf police Pradip Kumar Das, stand accused of murdering Sinha at a checkpoint in the resort town’s Marine Drive.

After the incident, the lid was blown on Pradip’s chequered past. An investigation from the Ministry of Home Affairs found that 174 people were killed in 106 ‘gunfights’ during the 33-month tenure of Pradip as Teknaf Police Station chief.

He had similarly tried to cover up the killing of Sinha as a ‘gunfight’.

In the wake of the incident, former officers of the armed forces demanded the arrest of all policemen involved.

After Sinha’s murder on July 31, 2020, his sister started a murder case against nine policemen, including Pradip and Inspector Liakat Ali, on Aug 5.

The other suspects were former police sub-inspector Nanda Dulal Raxit, former constables Shafanur Karim, Kamal Hossain, Abdullah Al Mamun, Rubel Sharma and Mohammad Mostafa, former ASI Sagar Deb, Armed Police Battalion’s SI Mohammad Shahjahan and constables Mohammad Rajib and Mohammad Abdullah.

Four and a half months later, on Dec 13, the case’s investigation officer Md Khairul Islam pressed formal charges against the 15 suspects.

The trial opened after they were indicted by Judge Ismail on Jun 27, 2021. In the course of the trial, the court heard 65 testimonies, including nine eyewitness accounts.

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