Home / Bangladesh / 10 years of Sagor-Runi murder: Justice still a far cry

10 years of Sagor-Runi murder: Justice still a far cry

Family members and journalist community have passed another year of hopelessness as investigators failed to unearth mystery of journalist couple Sagar-Runi murder even after 10 years of the brutal incident.

The justice still remains a far cry as the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is yet to make any headway in the case. So far, the investigators have sought time a total of 85 times from the court for submitting the probe report in the case, but they have failed to do it.

The victims’ family members termed the ongoing investigation eyewash while journalist leaders termed it a continuation of culture of impunity.

Runi’s brother Nowsher Alam Roman, who filed the murder case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station, on Thursday told the Daily Sun that they are frustrated as the investigation and trial of many sensational murder cases have been completing but there is no progress in this case.

“The dates for submission of the probe report were deferred for 85 times. I will say that it is part of a drama, it is nothing but a eyewash and a mockery of the system,” said.

“My mother had expected to see the justice in the case but her expectation did not fulfil as she died on January 5 this year,” he said.

Now the investigation officer is not communicating with them over the case, he said, adding that “But whatever the situation, we want justice.”

Sagar Sarwar, the then news editor of Maasranga TV, and his wife Meherun Runi, senior reporter of ATN Bangla, were murdered at their rented apartment at Paschim Razabazar in the capital in the presence of their minor son Mahir Sarwar Megh on February 11, 2012.

Mahir Sarwar Megh, the only son of the couple, was only five years old then and was in his room when his parents were killed in the flat.

The double murder sparked a nationwide outcry, particularly among journalists, who have been demanding justice for the slain couple since then.

Top officials of the government as well as law enforcement agencies visited the couple’s residence, and their child Megh, and assured their families of speedy justice. Then home minister Sahara Khatun had vowed to bring the killers to justice within 48 hours. The case was initially investigated by the Detective Branch (DB) of police, but was transferred to RAB on April 18, 2012 when the detectives admitted to their failure to unearth the motives behind the gruesome murder.

But RAB has not made any visible headway in finding out the motive or the culprits either.

RAB investigators repeatedly said that the ‘investigation was on’ and it ‘would take appropriate legal steps’ though the investigators sought time one after another.

Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate courts have so far deferred dates of submitting the probe report in the case for 85 times as the investigator failed to submit the probe report.

For the last time on January 24, this year Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Md Torikul Islam deferred the date of submitting the probe report in the journalist couple murder case to February 23.

RAB has so far submitted eight progress reports on the investigation, but none of the reports indicated that they had unearthed any significant clues.

The last progress report that RAB submitted before the court was on March 15, 2017.

Till now, the investigators have interrogated 158 people, including 27 journalists, as well as recorded Megh’s statement. They have also run tests on the DNA samples at a private laboratory in the US. But the RAB failed to make any headway in the investigations.

On November 14, 2019, a bench of High Court Division comprising justice M Enayetur Rahim and justice Md Mostafizur Rahman also expressed their dismay over RAB’s failure to make any progress in investigation into the case.

The bench directed RAB to submit a report about the progress in probes by March 4, 2020.  During hearing, RAB investigator and additional police superintendent Khandaker Shafiqul Alam submitted that there had been no progress in the investigations.

Khandker Shafiqul Alam was the seventh investigator in the case since July 4, 2019. When the court asked him to explain whether Sagar’s missing laptop had been found, he replied in the negative.

Expressing frustration over the snail’s pace of the probe, Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) President Nazrul Islam Mithu told the Daily Sun that 10 years have elapsed since the murder but the investigator failed to submit the probe report till now.

“On the tenth anniversary of the journalist couple murder, our only demand is that we want justice over the murder,” he said, urging the government to complete probe and conclude trial in the case as soon as possible.”

Following the murder, at least eight suspects –Sagar-Runi’s family friends Tanvir Ahmed, Enam Ahmed alias Humayun Kabir, Rafiqul Islam, Bakul Mia, Mitu alias Bargira Mintu alias Masum Mintu, Kamrul Hasan Arun, Palash Rudra Paul and Abu Sayeed– were arrested and quizzed for many days.

On March 8, 2015, Tanvir was freed on bail by the High Court Division while seven other accused are in jail custody now. Palash got bail and went into hiding and no information was available on him so far.