Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir yesterday expressed optimism that the killers of journalist couple Sagar and Runi would be identified by October 10.
“We hope we will be able to identify the guilty by the 1oth of next month if the probe into the homicide goes on at the current pace,” he told journalist leaders at a meeting at his secretariat office.
“We don’t want to arrest any innocent person like Joj Miah. To ensure this, we need to identify the killers first before making an arrest.”
Sagar Sarowar, news editor at the private TV channel Maasranga, and his wife Meherun Runi, a senior reporter at another TV channel ATN Bangla, were killed on February 11 at their rented apartment in the capital’s West Rajabazar.
Alamgir claimed that many more reporters had been killed between 2001 and 2006 than in the last three years.
Refuting his claim, Shawkat Mahmud, secretary general of a faction of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), said since the country’s liberation in 1971, a total of 29 journalists had been killed by criminals, of whom 17 were killed over the last three and a half years.
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury and Abdul Jalil Bhuyian, president and secretary general respectively of a faction of BFUJ and Shakhawat Hossain Badsha, president of Dhaka Reporters Unity, spoke at the meeting, among others.
The journalist leaders told the minister that they would hold their pre-scheduled rally today before the Jatiya Press Club to demand the arrest of the killers of Sagar and Runi.
Frustrated over the Detective Branch’s failure to identify the killers of the journalist couple, the High Court on April 18 ordered the authorities concerned to transfer the Sagar-Runi murder case to Rab.
During the BNP-Jamaat alliance rule in 2005, Joj Miah, a petty criminal, was implicated in the August 21 grenade attack cases. Later he was cleared of the charges through investigation.
RAB QUIZZES MAHFUZUR
Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday grilled ATN Bangla Chairman Mahfuzur Rahman at the Uttara headquarters of the elite force in connection with the murder of journalist couple Sagar and Runi.
Rab summoned the businessman for quizzing and accordingly he went to the office, Director General of Rab Mukhlesur Rahman told The Daily Star.
During the two-hour interrogation from 11:00am, the Rab members mainly asked the ATN Bangla chief to explain the comments he made about Sagar and Runi at a press briefing in London, said sources in Rab.
“We also asked him whether he had been to Runi’s house,” said Lt Col Ziaul Hasan, director of Rab’s Intelligence Wing.
In his replies, Mahfuzur claimed that he had made many remarks on the basis of a CD containing the statements of Megh, the only child of Sagar and Runi.
He also insisted that he had made some other remarks about the lifestyle of the couple after getting annoyed at some questions posed by the newsmen at the London briefing.
At the press briefing, Mahfuzur had said that Sagar and Runi were victims of an extra-marital affair.
He also claimed that he had video footage relating to the motive of the murder.
MOZENA MEETS HOME MINISTER
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena yesterday called on Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir at the latter’s secretariat office and requested him to beef up security around the US consulate in the capital’s Baridhara.
The home minister assured the US envoy that the government had already taken appropriate measures in this regard.
On Monday, some youths, believed to be members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, gathered near the US mission to protest a movie demeaning Prophet Mohammad (SM).