A ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) activist, Amit Muhuri, had been using a flat on the fifth floor of Bengal Holding in Harish Dutta Lane of Nandankanon area of Chittagong, as a ‘torture cell’ since March.
Amit Muhuri claims that he is a local leader of Juba League, the youth wing of the ruling party.
Neighbours regularly heard loud cries from the flat. They suspected people were picked up, locked in the flat and beaten.
Police rescued a local businessman last May from the flat after he was locked up for refusing to pay extortion money. This created panic among the locals.
The house is just a kilometre away from Chittagong Kotwali police station and merely 500 yards away from Enayetbazar police camp.
The flat was rented by Amit Muhuri, who identified himself as a Juba League leader. He rented the flat from last March for Tk 20,000 per month.
The flat is owned by a woman. Her father, Mohammad Sharif, said Amit has only paid one month’s rent. He threatens them whenever go to collect the rent, Sharif added. Amit has also failed to pay electricity and gas bills since April.
Locals of the Nandankanon area said Amit always carried a gun and was accompanied by a dog whenever he left the building. He often had visitors late at night.
Kotwali police officer in-charge Jasimuddin said Amit’s house was a torture cell. He used to bring people to his flat to torture them for extortion. In fear, people simply paid him and did not inform the police, OC added.
The ‘torture cell’ came to light after police recovered a body in a drum from a water body, sealed with bricks, sand and cement on 13 August.
Police on 31 August unveiled the murder mystery and said Amit with his other friends killed a close friend and kept his body in the flat for four days.
Police also said Amit killed his friend, suspecting to be having an affair with his wife.
Police arrested Amit from a rehab centre in Comilla on 2 September. Speaking with Prothom Alo on 4 September on the court premises, Amit said he was a yaba edict. He has a boulder business. People are falsely accused him of extortion because he was involved in politics, he said.
Police said Amit has a total of 13 cases against him including murder, arms and extortion. He is also accused in a double-murder related to the tender of the eastern railway.
Chittagong police assistant commissioner (Kotwali region) Jahangir Alam said Amit is a cold-blooded murderer. It is not possible for a regular person to kill his childhood friend in such a manner.
On 24 June 2013, supporters of ruling Awami League’s two wings - Chhatra League and Juba League - clashed over a tender in Chittagong’s CRB area leaving two people dead including a child.
Amit is a follower of Juba League central committee’s deputy financial affairs secretary Helal Akbar Chowdhury alias Babar.
Babar is also an accused in the double murder.
Talking over phone, Babar said Amit was once his follower. However he has no connection with Amit now as he became a yaba edict and has committed a number of crimes.
He also demanded punishment for Amit if he was convicted in any case.
*This piece, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Saimul Huda
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