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Sagar-Runi Murder

Fugitive guard held

Rab sees him prime suspect; family sceptic

Humayun Kabir

Rapid Action Battalion yesterday arrested Humayun Kabir alias Enamul, a "prime" suspect in the Sagar-Runi murder case. He is the fugitive security guard of the building where the journalist couple was killed.

Rab officials said a team of the elite force arrested him at Brahmanbaria Railway Station area around 4:50am. Earlier, another Rab source had told The Daily Star that the suspect was picked up nearly a week ago from a northern district.

Rab Director General (DG) Mokhlesur Rahman said Enamul had run away a few days after the sensational double murder.

Sagar Sarowar, news editor at private TV station Maasranga, and his wife Meherun Runi, senior reporter at ATN Bangla, were killed in the small hours of February 11, 2012 at their rented flat in the capital's West Razabazar area.

During primary investigation, the arrestee denied his involvement in the killing, said Rab sources.

Enamul had worked in many security guard agencies before and after the killing incident and every time he used fake identities and addresses, said the Rab DG, adding that they consider Enamul as a prime suspect in the case.

The DG said Rab would send the arrestee's DNA samples to laboratories abroad to cross match with the biometric evidence collected from the crime scene. Enamul would also be placed before a Dhaka court with remand prayer, he added.

Meanwhile, victim Runi's brother Nowsher Alam Noman yesterday told The Daily Star that they did not think this arrest would reveal anything new.

"Enamul had earlier been arrested several times. But each time he was let go after interrogation. So there is nothing to be excited about," said Nowsher, adding that perhaps the law enforcers were doing all that to show some progress before the couple's first death anniversary.

But the Rab DG believes that they will be able to glean significant information from Enamul.

In October 2012, the home minister announced a bounty of Tk 10 lakh on Enamul. On December 23 that year, members of the parliamentary standing committee on home ministry blasted DG Mokhlesur Rahman over Rab's failure in solving the case. The DG told the committee that the case would be solved once Enamul was arrested.

Asked by the parliamentary committee as to why the security guard could not be arrested by then and how he had escaped, the Rab boss said they had engaged secret agents to nab the suspect.

The elite force was given the charge of investigating the case on April 18, 2012, after it vented frustration over the Detective Branch's failure in identifying the killer(s). Yesterday, Rab officials claimed that they had arrested the "main accused".

After his arrest yesterday, Enamul was brought to the Rab headquarters in the capital in the morning and was produced before a press briefing. Newsmen were not allowed to talk with the suspect during the briefing.

Enamul was first picked up for interrogation on February 11 last year, the very day the journalist couple was murdered. He was later released.

On October 10, 2012, Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir had claimed to have identified seven suspects including Enamul. They are: Rafiqul Islam, Bakul Miah, Masum Mintu, Sayeed, another security guard of the couple's residence Palash Rudra Paul, and the couple's "family friend" Tanvir.

Of the suspects, the first four are now in jail in connection with the murder of physician Nitai, while Palash and Tanvir are in Rab custody.

Rab, in the mean time, had sent some evidence collected from the crime scene to laboratories abroad for DNA tests. The laboratories found DNA profiles of six to seven persons from the samples.

Later the elite force sent biometric samples of 13 people, including six suspects of Dr Nitai murder, but none matched with the DNA profiles.

Last month, high officials of Rab said they would need to find a new lead to determine the identity, number and the motive of the killer(s).

Meanwhile, several media heads and journalist leaders yesterday observed that newsmen should take up the duty of unravelling the motive behind and the mystery in the Sagar-Runi murder.

The observation came at a discussion organised at Dhaka Reporters' Unity auditorium in the capital by the victims' family, relatives, friends and well-wishers.

The journalist leaders there urged newsmen to form a joint investigation cell to launch a probe into the killing, while the family members of Sagar and Runi asked all to remain alert so that no drama could be staged by the law enforcement agencies in the name of investigation.

Eminent journalist ABM Musa said the government should make the diary of Sagar public. The law enforcers should also publish the two letters they recovered after the murder.

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