An owner named Shamim Ahmed was on the launch of MV Abhiyan-10 at the time of the fire in Sugandha river in Jhalokati. Seeing the fire spread in the engine room, he got down from the launch like other workers. Another owner of the launch, his brother Russell Ahmed, went to the scene after the fire but did not identify himself as the owner. When the locals, including the relatives of the victims, got angry with the owner, he moved to Dhaka from there.
DB Joint Commissioner Mahbub Alam said, “Shamim admitted that he was on the launch at the time of the incident. He went down after the engine room caught fire. They launched Expedition 10 recklessly to arrive three hours earlier than the other launches. They admit that two engines of 720 horsepower were installed on the launch without approval.
According to sources, Hamjalal went to Sadarghat on the day of the incident to reach the destination first and instructed supervisor Anwar and nephew Shamim to speed up the launch. Although they contacted each other after the launch caught fire, they did not take any action to protect the passengers.
When asked, DB Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Abdullah Al Mamun said Shamim and Russell have been presented in the naval court. In all, seven accused in the case are now in jail.
Relatives of the dead and missing passengers complained that efforts were being made to release the owner of the launch. One of the owners, Hamzalal, expressed suspicion in the media that the fire was sabotage. He also wrote three letters demanding an investigation into the incident. After that, arrest and surrender started in the case of the naval court. They demanded interrogation of all the accused in remand as well as release of investigation report.
Investigators say police have arrested three owners in a case filed at Barguna police station. The process of showing their arrest is also going on in the case of Jhalokati police station.
Investigators said Hamzalal, owner of Messrs. Araf & Co., and his three brothers, Abdus Sattar Bepari, Siddiqur Rahman and Haji Bachchu Bepari. They have been in the launch business for 25 years. Their ancestral home is in Munshiganj. The children are now owned by the two deceased brothers. Everyone lives in Joychandra Ghosh Lane in Banglabazar, Old Dhaka. Shamim, son of the late Abdus Sattar, and Russell, son of Bachchu Bepari, ran the business with his uncle. Ferdous Hasan Rabbi, 18, son of late Siddiqur, is also accused in the case.
ADC Abdullah Al Mamun said, “Rabbi is 18 years old. She is in 10th class. Although his father’s name was mentioned, he was not involved in any matter. That’s why we did not launch an operation to arrest him. “
The driver in charge of the launch Masum Billah and the second driver Abul Kalam surrendered to the naval court on Sunday and were sent to jail. Earlier on December 26, in-charge master Riaz Sikder and second master Khalilur Rahman surrendered. Supervisors Anwar, Sukani Ahsan and clerk Kamrul are still at large. Attempts are being made to arrest them.
Investigating officer of the case Jhalokati Police Station SI Nazrul Islam said, Evidence is being collected by removing the launch from the wharf. ‘