Journalist Ashfaqul, wife Tania land in jail over death of domestic worker

Police have been granted permission to quiz the couple at the jail gates

Published : 7 Feb 2024, 12:15 PM
Updated : 7 Feb 2024, 12:15 PM

A Dhaka court has sent The Daily Star's Executive Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque and his wife Tania Khondoker to jail in a case over the death of a teenage domestic worker who fell from their eighth floor flat in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur.

Police sought a five-day remand to quiz the couple in custody on Wednesday following their arrest in the case filed by Lokesh Urang, father of 15-year-old victim Preeti Urang.

But the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Hasibul Haque rejected the remand petition and allowed police to quiz them at the jail gates within three days.

The judge also rejected the couple’s bail plea.

The charges against the couple involve negligence resulting in death, according to Mahfuzul Haque Bhuiyan, the chief of Mohammadpur Police Station.

Ashraful Alam, the lawyer for the couple, argued that his clients are accused of committing a bailable offence - culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Sub-Inspector Md Helal, general recording officer of the court, objected to the bail petition.

Police recovered the body of Preeti after she had fallen from the residential building adjacent to the Geneva Camp on Shahjahan Road on Tuesday morning.

Locals demonstrated outside the house after the incident, alleging Preeti was murdered.

Later, Ashfaqul, Tania, and four other members of the family were taken to the police station for questioning. The four others were released.

On Aug 6 last year, a similar incident took place at Ashfaqul's house, where a 9-year-old house help was severely injured after jumping out of a window in the building.

Her mother accused Ashfaqul, Tania, and another woman of torturing the child in a case over the incident.

Preeti, a member of the Urang community in Moulvibazar's Kamalganj Upazila, worked as a domestic aide at Ashfaqul's house for about two years. was unable to reach Ashfaqul for comment on Preeti’s death.

The Daily Star said in a statement, "We are deeply saddened to learn about the incident in which a young house help met with a tragic death at the residence of our senior colleague and Executive Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque."

"We express our deepest sorrow at the unfortunate occurrence and convey our deepest condolence to her bereaved family. We await the outcome of the investigation."