Government Policy

Death of Fardin Noor: Order on Bushra’s bail application Sunday

A Dhaka court set next Sunday (January 8) to pass its order on the latest bail application on behalf of Amatullah Bushra, who has been languishing in jail for almost two months now in a homicide case filed over the death of Buet student Fardin Noor (Parash), despite investigation agencies failing to find any evidence connecting her to her friend’s death.


Judge Tahsin Iftekhar of Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court-7 set the date after hearing the bail petition, according to two members of Bushra’s legal team, lawyers Mokhesur Rahman and Abdur Rahman Hawladar.


Unlike Bushra’s previous bail applications, which were opposed by the state on advice of the investigation agency – which was treating Fardin’s death as a murder – this time the hearing took place in the context of both the Detective Branch, the court-appointed investigation agency, and the Rapid Action Battalion, which carried out its own ‘shadow’ investigation, having decisively shifted away from their earlier position that Fardin was murdered. Since mid-December, the two agencies have converged around a conclusion that Fardin committed suicide.


That did not stop the state from opposing Bushra’s bail yet again today though.


Bushra, a 3rd year student of East West University who became friends with Fardin on the debate circuit, was the last known person to have seen Fardin on the day of his disappearance (Nov. 4). In fact they were together for hours before Fardin dropped her off at her student accommodation in Rampura close to 10pm – exactly as Bushra had said from the start and CCTV footage later confirmed.


Police picked her up on November 10, three days after Fardin’s body washed up in the Shitalakkhya River, and hours after Fardin’s father filed a case alleging murder – where the sole accused to be named was Bushra. It may be mentioned here that initial reports and even statements by forensic doctors who dealt with Fardin’s body at Narayanganj General Hospital, made a very strong case for a homicide. Even the investigation agencies were bought on this version of events.


Bushra was taken on remand subsequently for five days, and her lawyers today reiterated how nothing untoward or suspicious was uncovered. Even the friendship the two shared was found to be platonic, her lawyers noted while talking to reporters outside the court premises. They prayed before the court for bail on humanitarian grounds.


State counsel Advocate Shamim Hasan, however, still found reason to oppose her bail petition – saying that if released despite being an accused in a murder investigation, she may “influence the witnesses of the case” while out on bail.


Fardin’s father Noor Uddin Rana was present at the court during the hearing, as it wrapped up without any order, nor any date for it. Later in the evening it was announced that an order would be passed on Sunday, the court’s next working day.


Read more: DB to apprise court that Bushra has no link to Fardin’s death, says its chief


According to the investigation agencies’ last version of how things transpired, Fardin committed suicide by jumping off the Sultana Kamal Bridge into the Shitalakkhya River around 2:37am on November 5, some 4-and-a-half hours after he dropped off Bushra. They have produced grainy, almost pitch dark CCTV footage in support of their claims, from an establishment at the bottom of the bridge. It shows an unrecognisable figure (too dark) appear at the side of the bridge at the said time, climb over the railing and dangle off it for some moments, before falling into the river. Fardin never learned to swim, according to DB.


But it’s all very circumstantial. The only reason investigators can claim the dark figure falling into the river is Fardin, is because cellphone tracking of his phone number placed Fardin on the bridge at the time. Prior to that his phone had pinged various towers indicating his presence in Keraniganj, Johnson Road, Gulistan and Jatrabari. In Jatrabari police were able to get their hands on CCTV footage of him getting into a Laguna around 2:03am. His back is to the camera as he walks towards the laguna, which raised questions initially as to whether it is really him, but it’s one of the few points on which the family agrees with the police.


Nooruddin Rana told UNB he does believe it is Fardin who gets on the Laguna, but adds: “The way he is walking shows he was tense, disturbed by something. He was in distress.”


Investigators have been less than convincing however, on what could have driven an intelligent young man with a seemingly bright future ahead of him to suicide. The DB chief’s attempt at posthumous psychoanalysis came in for criticism as he brought up everything from Fardin’s fondness for the novels of Albert Camus and Friedrich Nietzsche (nihilist philosophers) to random quotations attributed to Fardin, purportedly showing suicidal tendencies. Some of their interpretations clearly miss, or perhaps deliberately distort, what is meant, or overstate their significance, his friends say.


The Detective Branch also came across as insensitive when bringing up his family situation at home, and his supposedly slipping – although still far from disastrous – grades at BUET, as contributing factors to his suicide.


Source: United News of Bangladesh