2,000 RAB men punished in 10 years

Built to tackle terror, nearly 2,000 members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) itself have been punished for committing crimes in the last 10 years, most of whom came from the military.

Liton Haider Chief Crimes Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 10 May 2014, 07:46 PM
Updated : 10 May 2014, 08:13 PM

The elite force was introduced in 2004 during the BNP-led alliance government’s tenure to fight domestic crimes and terrorism.

A huge number of the penalised officers came from the armed forces.

The three officials accused of having ties to the abduction and murder of seven men including Councillor Nazrul Islam and senior lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarkar in Narayanganj, are also from the armed forces.

Two of them were army officers while the other was naval officer who all have already lost their job. The RAB is also investigating them.

According to RAB, 1,949 of its officers have faced punishment for different crimes since the force’s inception. This means 16 RAB members are committing crimes on average every month.
Currently, RAB has nearly 9,000 officers.
Of them, 44 percent have come from the police, 44 percent from the army, navy and air force and 12 percent have been drawn from Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Ansar and VDP, Coastguards and other law-enforcing agencies.
According to the elite force, until May 6 this year, 729 RAB members who came from the army were punished for committing crimes. The number was 54 for the navy and 62 for the air force.
Apart from them, 817 members who faced punishment too were from police, 206 from BGB and 81 were from Ansar.
The first-ever crime committed by RAB personnel came into light after five months into its coming into existence.
Three officers were caught after snatching nearly Tk 300,000 from a cattle trader on Aug 23, 2004 in Dhaka.
The trio, however, immediately faced departmental action.
Initially, the force was ‘lauded’ by certain quarters for its role in tackling the law and order situation, but was criticised by the human-rights organisations for extrajudicial killings like ‘crossfire’ and other criminal activities.
“RAB is a disciplined force. Those who face allegation are probed and measures are taken against if found guilty. No one is spared,” RAB spokesperson Habibur Rahman told bdnews24.com.
After allegations surfaced that RAB officers were linked to the Narayanganj incident, the force’s Director General Mokhlesur Rahman told a meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on home ministry that they would not try to shield anyone.
According to sources in RAB, the force’s members have been found guilty of crimes like extortion, detention and torture of innocent citizens and embezzling money and valuable goods.
Other than these, RAB members face allegations of petty theft, misplacing service arms, beating up arrestees and divulging confidential information.
The force said some of the guilty members are facing trial while some lost their job and others were punished through a salary cut, sent back to the forces they came from and some got rebuked.
Lt Col Zulfikar lost his job and was arrested after being found involved in looting Tk 20 million from a shrine in Chittagong in 2011.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Md Shoyeb Ahmed was removed from RAB in July, 2009 and faced punishment from police, after he was found guilty of taking money for illegally detaining a person.
Major Abu Mohammad Siddique Alam, while serving in the RAB, was charged with detaining a businessman and torturing him. He was discharged from the army in Jul, 2010 on being found guilty.
Several RAB members have been punished for being involved in scandals involving women. A RAB member was fired for being involved in drug trade.
Sub-inspector Shamsul Alam was removed from RAB for denying that he was carrying a weapon. An assistant sub-inspector was demoted to constable for leaking confidential information.
RAB member Mochhemul Islam was sent into forced retirement after he was found guilty of stealing VoIP equipment recovered during raids.
RAB sources said 679 personnel out of the total 1,949 convicted have been jailed, fined or suspended.
Of them, 12 have been sentenced to jail and 107 were discharged.
The number of RAB members sent back to the forces they belong to is 410, while 1,270 have been warned and rebuked, 555 RAB personnel have been demoted and fined.
Five, who have been discharged, are currently facing trial.
Investigations are on-going over some allegations against the force’s members.
Charges over Narayanganj multiple murders have further eroded its public trust.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher