After the killing of Bangabandhu and four national leaders, four officials of Bangladesh Television (BTV) were killed on November 7, 1975 for usurping power. That murder has not been tried in 48 years. Due to political changes and suspension of the High Court, the trial of this case has been disrupted from time to time. After being adjourned for 13 years, the trial started again last February, but witnesses are not available. So far only one person has testified in the case.
The four officers who were killed in Rampura television building are – one of the architects of the television broadcasting center, Monirul Alam, editor of Pakshik Bichitra and then deputy director general of BTV, administrative officer AB Siddique, chief accountant Akmal Khan and cinematographer Firoz Qayyum Chowdhury.
A review of the case documents shows that the accused are taking advantage of the delay in the trial. Out of the 9 accused in the chargesheet, two have already died. Four people have been absconding for a long time. And three defendants have acquitted themselves from the High Court before the settlement of the original case. The case is currently under trial in the court of Dhaka First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge Faisal Bin Atiq. The date of taking evidence in this case is scheduled for November 30.
Prosecutor Abdus Sattar Dulal told Samakal, ‘After 1975, the trial of the case did not proceed due to political decisions. At one point, the case got bogged down due to the stay of the High Court. After an era, the stay in the trial of the case was lifted last year. However, although the taking of evidence started last February, witnesses are not available.’ He said that along with the issuance of arrest warrants against the absconding accused, the witnesses have been summoned to appear in the court.
After Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family were killed on August 15, 1975, security was strengthened at various important facilities of the country including the BTV building. At that time, the BTV Employee Welfare Association was agitating with various demands. A secret meeting was held between the BTV authorities and the employees’ association. The intention was to take advantage of senior officials by taking them hostage. They are also in conflict with the army. After this, four officials including AMM Siddique were abducted on November 7. They were not found later. The next year, when the water dried up in Hatirjheel, three skeletons were found. After examining the skeletons, it was found that they belonged to the three missing officers of BTV. The skeletons were buried in the Azimpur cemetery. However, the family did not find Monirul’s body or any trace of him.
In this incident, four families first filed a kidnapping case, which later turned into a murder case. On May 26, 2004, the High Court suspended the trial of the case after the testimony began in the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court of Dhaka. The three defendants in the case filed separate petitions and sought a stay of the proceedings. On April 25, 2010, the High Court stayed the proceedings of the case. Three of the accused were acquitted by the High Court. Last year, the state applied to the High Court to revoke the stay on the proceedings of the case. On August 31 of the same year, the High Court revoked the suspension, and the proceedings began again. Attorney General AM Amin Uddin said, “There is no longer any obstacle to the trial as the High Court’s suspension order has been withdrawn.”
According to court sources, after a long investigation, the chief investigation officer of the case. Fazlul Karim Khan filed a charge sheet against 9 people on August 18, 1999. The police also arrested them. But later they were released on bail. On August 7, 2002, the case came up for trial in the court of the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge of Dhaka. Next year on August 16, charges were framed against 9 accused. The next year, on May 19, the testimony of Muhammad Ali Swapan, a close relative of Monirul Alam, was accepted. After that, no more witnesses were called.
The absconding accused included in the charge sheet are BTV session controller Syed Ainul Kabir, field engineering member KAM Zakaria Haider and Shahjahan Sirazi. Among others, Altaf Hussain, a retired honorary lieutenant of the army, was granted bail and three accused were acquitted by the High Court.