Lawyer Rathis found dead following arrest of wife, her colleagues in Rangpur

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Rangpur, Apr 4: The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-13 has recovered the body of Rathis Chondro Bhowmik after five-day of his disappearance.The RAB has found lawyer Rathis dead in Rangpur following the arrest of his schoolteacher wife Dipa Bhowmik and two of her colleagues.

RAB-13 commander Major Armin Rabbi said the body was found in an under-construction building at Tajhat in the city around half a kilometre from Rathis’ home at Babuparha late on Tuesday.

His brother Sushanta Bhowmik Subal identified the body in the wee hours of Wednesday, Rabbi told the media, emerging from the site.

Dipa is an assistant teacher of Tajhat High School. The law enforcers arrested two of her colleagues, Kamrul Islam and Motiar Rahman, on Monday but disclosed it on Tuesday night.

Rabbi told the media they arrested Dipa and hinted that her extramarital affair had a hand in Rathis’ murder.

“We’ve found the body following information given by her,” the RAB officer said.

Rabbi said the body was buried at the under-construction house of Kamrul’s brother after Rathis was murdered four to five days ago.

Rangpur Superintendent of Police Mizanur Rahman and the district’s Bar Association General Secretary Abdul Malek were also present.

The SP had earlier said they had been investigating all possible angles in the case, including land disputes, militancy and the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Public Prosecutor Rathis represented the state in the cases over the killings of Japanese national Kunio Hoshi and Rahmat Ali, a caretaker of a shrine.

He was also a witness in the war crimes case against Jamaat Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam, who was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal and the Appellate Division is hearing the case now.

The legal affairs secretary of Rangpur District Awami League, Rathis was a trustee of the Hindu Welfare Trust, general secretary of Sammilita Sangskritik Jote’s Rangpur chapter, and president of the district unit of Bangladesh Puja Udjapon Parishad.

Minority groups Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council and the Puja Udjapon Parishad earlier took to the streets to demand quick steps by the authorities to trace the missing public prosecutor.

The 55-year old left his home in Rangpur city with a person on a motorcycle on Friday morning and had not been heard from since, his family said in a police complaint. His brother Subal later started a case without naming anyone.

The Trust had expressed suspicion that the Jamaat or militants or land encroachers were behind the disappearance of Rathis.

Police had arrested nine people in connection with the case but there was new twist in the investigation Tajhat High School assistant teachers Kamrul and Motiar were arrested on Monday.

Rathis was president of the school’s governing body.

Kotwali Police Station OC Babul Mia revealed the information on the arrest of Kamrul and Motiar on Tuesday night.

SP Mizanur said at the time that the law enforcers were working on significant information gleaned from the duo.

Earlier in the afternoon, police launched a search around Rathis’ home.

They suspended the operation after finding a blooded shirt from the garbage put in a hole, but Subal confirmed it was not his brother’s.

Later at night, the RAB found a body at the construction site. Dipa and other members of the family were taken there to identify the body and Subal confirmed it was his brother.

RAB officer Rabbi said they would reveal more details after completing the investigation.