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2024-05-23 09:15:47

Bangladeshi MP’s macabre death in Kolkata: What we know so far

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Bangladeshi MP’s macabre death in Kolkata: What we know so far

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan made the sensational disclosure Wednesday that Anwarul Azim Anar, MP for Jhenidah-4, had been murdered in West Bengal, while on a medical trip to India. He said the slain MP’s remains had been found in a flat in New Town, Kolkata, reports UNB.

“Awami League MP Anwarul Azim Anar, who went missing in India, was murdered at a Calcutta flat,” Khan told journalists. “So far, we have come to know that all the killers involved are Bangladeshis. It was a planned murder.”

Abduction case filed over MP Anar's death

Police in Kolkata however have said no body has been found, and they are continuing their search in this regard. All that has been found are blood stains in a flat in suburban New Town where Azim was seen entering with three others on May 13.

What is known so far is that Azim went to Kolkata. He entered India through the Darshana border (connecting Bangladesh’s Khulna with Nadia) on May 12 for a medical consultation, and started staying with a friend, Gopal Biswas, a gold trader, in the Baranagar area.

Around 1.40pm on May 13, he left Biswas’s house to meet a neurologist at a Kolkata hospital in a cab. According to The Telegraph, an influential Kolkata daily, the taxi driver who drove Azim around has told the police they had picked up another Bangladeshi national from the New Market area and from there proceeded to the flat in New Town.

The medical appointment, had there been one in the first place, was not kept.

CCTV footage has revealed that apart from Azim, two men and a woman had entered the flat at Sanjeeva Gardens, an upmarket development in Rajarhat.

Over the next four days, CCTV footage shows the other three leaving the building at different times, but there is no further sighting of the MP.

What West Bengal Police are saying

Stating that the police had “reliable inputs” that Anwar “may have been murdered”, Akhilesh Chaturvedi, IG, CID, West Bengal Police, said that they were yet to recover the victim’s body, as of Wednesday evening.

“We had no prior intimation of the Bangladeshi MP’s arrival to this city. We came to know about him after his acquaintance in Kolkata, Gopal Biswas, filed a missing diary on May 18. A Special Investigation Team was formed by the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate to trace the missing politician.

“We were in the middle of that investigation when, on May 20, we received an intimation from the Ministry of External Affairs and today an input that makes us suspect that the victim may have been murdered,” Chaturvedi said.

The IG confirmed that the apartment was owned by Sanjib Ghosh, an employee of the state excise department, who, in turn, had rented it out to one Akhtaruzzaman, a US national.

Additionally, police sources told the Deccan Herald, another influential Indian daily, that Anar was accompanied by two men and a woman when he checked into the New Town apartment. CCTV footage showed that the unidentified men and woman left the residential complex in phases between May 15 and May 17, and at least two of the three later returned to Bangladesh.

Arrests in Bangladesh

The killers of Anwarul Azim Anar were Bangladeshis, according to the Chief of the Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Mohammad Harun-or-Rashid, backing up an earlier assertion by the home minister.

"An investigation is underway to ascertain the reason behind the murder. A few persons were arrested and others who were involved in the murder will be brought to justice. But the names can't be disclosed now for the sake of the investigation," the DB chief said while talking to reporters at his office today (22 May).

The home minister had also revealed the number of persons arrested was three. The arrests were reportedly made from Wari in the capital. There is no confirmation on whether any of them were part of the trio that accompanied the MP to New Town, and later slipped back inside Bangladesh.

Meanwhile an abduction case was filed against unnamed persons at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station, based on the complaint of Mumtarin Ferdous Dorin, daughter of MP Anar. The Indian authorities have not yet acknowledged the murder, complicating any intention to file a murder case.

In the case statement, Dorin states:

"On May 13, we received a message from my father's Indian SIM number. It said, 'I am going to Delhi suddenly, I have VIPs with me. I am going to meet Amit Shah. No need to call me. I will call you later.' Apart from this, several other messages also came.”

The messages bear an eerie resemblance to messages received by Gopal Biswas around the same time, as revealed in the missing person complaint he filed with the local police on May 18.

In his complaint, Biswas stated that Anar left his Baranagar residence to keep a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon of May 13, stating that he would be back home for dinner. BUt then later that day, Biswas alleged, he received a WhatsApp communication from the MP’s phone stating he would be moving to Delhi on some urgent work and that his host “need not call him”.

Then on the morning of May 15, Biswas stated he received further communication from the victim confirming he reached Delhi and was “flanked by VIPs”.

In her case statement, Dorin said she suspects that the abductors took hold of her father's phone and sent these messages from May 13th. Biswas may now contend the same. And some communication, or attempted communication, that apparently took place on May 16th with the MP’s aide in Bangladesh, was also probably the same.

The truth, for now at least, still evades the people of Bengal on both sides of the international border.

Bd-pratidin English/Tanvir Raihan

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