All the 18 accused in the sensational Yeasmin Aktar Anny murder case at Boalkhali upazila of Chattogram are still at large despite a court issuing arrest warrants against 17 of them upon expiration of bail secured from the High Court (HC).
Moreover, the accused are threatening the plaintiff with dire consequences to withdraw the case.
According to the case statement, Bablu Dey alias Tanu, 30, a resident of Kharandwip Justhapura village under the Boalkhali upazila, was in a relationship with Anny, who hailed from Bagerhat district but worked as a garment worker in the port city of Chattogram.
Bablu was a barber by profession and used to live in the same area as Anny.
He married Anny in 2020 and took Tk5000 from her to convert his religion as he earlier promised it. The couple used to live in the port city and lock into altercations over the change of religion.
Later, Bablu took her to his house in Boalkhali and strangled her to death on 3 August 2021.
The Muslim girl was cremated as per Hindu ritual taking consents from locals including a Muslim union parishad chairman, creating widespread criticism over the matter in Chattogram as well as the country.
On 16 August of the same year, the victim's mother Roksana Begum filed a murder case accusing 18 people including Bablu with Chattogram Chief Judicial Magistrate Court.
The accused included Boalkhali's Sreepur Kharandwip union's Chairman Md Mokaram, UP Member Prodip Sutradar alias Manchhuna, locals Ratan Chowdhury, Sadhan Mahajan, Nimay Dey, Shangkar Dutta, Aurbinda Mahajan, Aurun Das, Dilip Deb, Ram Prosad, Rony Dey, Aurup Mahajan, Samar Das, Rabindra Dhar, Nipun Sen, Paban Das, Yusuf alias dredger Yusuf.
All the accused except Bablu secured a six week bail from the HC one month after the case was lodged.
After arrest, the prime accused Bablu gave a confessional statement under Section 164 before the magistrate court. He obtained bail in the case on 10 January this year.
The investigation officer (IO) of the case and sub inspector of Boalkhali police station Suman Kanti Dey submitted a chargesheet against only prime accused Bablu and unidentified one Suman. But the plaintiff's lawyer filed a naraji (no confidence motion) against the chargesheet and appealed to the court to issue an arrest warrant against the accused.
Rejecting the chargesheet, the court ordered the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to look into the case.
This year's August, the court issued arrest warrant against the 17 accused as they didn't appear before it upon expiration of the HC bail.
CID's Chattogram Inspector and IO of the case Nur Uddin Jahed said they talked to the plaintiff and an investigation is underway.
"All things will be cleared when the investigation report is submitted," he said.
Advocate Zia Habib, counsel of the plaintiff and a human rights leader, said they are bearing all expenses of the case as his client is insolvent.
Despite the arrest warrant the accused are still at large, he lamented.
Dr Ashique Mahmud, additional superintendent of Chattogram police (Patiya Circle), said, "Execution is a must once a warrant comes to the police station from a court, there is no chance to avoid it."
It is not true that the accused are roaming openly, rather they may be absconding, he said.