The High Court (HC) has found the confessional statements of the accused in the Narayanganj schoolgirl rape and "murder" case to be untrue since the girl later returned home alive.
"Why would the accused falsely confess to killing and dumping the girl in the river? People of the country wanted to see Khudiram hanged. Is that why everyone wants to go to the gallows," the court wondered.
The HC bench comprised of Justices M Enayetur Rahim and Md Mostafizur Rahman made the remarks Wednesday during a hearing for the judicial inquiry into the "return of Narayanganj murdered girl".
The HC said, "We judges are the sons of the soil too. But we cannot say everything in court. Journalists are also present during the hearing. Did the accused voluntarily testify even after knowing that the statements would put them on death row? Did they take their confession so lightly? It is truly unfortunate. The people of this country are indeed the losers."
The alleged rape and murder victim -- a Narayanganj fifth grader -- went missing on 4 July last year. Her father filed a case, and police subsequently arrested three individuals. All three of the accused later made confessional statements saying they gang-raped the student, murdered her, and dumped the body in the river. But the student was found alive on 23 August.
Then the HC ordered the judicial inquiry, which says police brutally tortured the accused, forcing confessions out of them.
The report said, "While the accused were in police custody, the investigating officer Md Shamim Al-Mamun, Sub-Inspector (SI) of Narayanganj Sadar Model Police Station, was found guilty of beating, intimidating, and threatening them to force a confession."
During the Wednesday hearing, Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Deputy Attorney General Md Sarwar Hossain represented the state, while lawyer Mohammad Shishir Monir represented the five advocates who appealed to the HC regarding the accuracy and rationality of the case proceedings.
Lawyer Mansurul Haque Chowdhury appeared for SI Shamim
Al-Mamun -- the former investigating officer of the case.
During the hearing, the HC said, "There is no need to blame the entire police force for the incident regarding the allegedly dead schoolgirl, who returned voluntarily. If there are any anomalies in the way the police handled the case, they themselves should think about how to mitigate the situation.
"In India, it is an offense to speak harshly to someone in police custody."
Addressing Attorney General AM Amin Uddin, the court then said, "If an accused is remanded in India, he/she is entitled to a lawyer, which is why they have amended their CrPC [Code of Criminal Procedure]. We hear a set of different reactions when we talk about amending our laws."
The attorney general said, "The revision of this case is now pending. According to Article 104 of the Constitution, the Appellate Division has been empowered in this regard."
The court then asked, "Granting or dismissing rules and allowing bails – are these the only tasks of the High Court?"
The court then fixed 20 January for the next hearing and order.
On 24 September last year, the HC directed the chief judicial magistrate of Narayanganj to oversee the judicial inquiry.