Police probe ‘murder’ of Bangladesh MP in Bengal

Mohammad Anwarul Azim ‘Anar’ went missing from Kolkata on May 13

Updated - May 23, 2024 02:10 am IST

Published - May 22, 2024 02:02 pm IST - Kolkata/Dhaka

Bangladesh MP Mohammad Anwarul Azim Anar. Photo: parliament.gov.bd

Bangladesh MP Mohammad Anwarul Azim Anar. Photo: parliament.gov.bd

Hours after the Bangladesh government declared that Awami League MP Mohammad Anwarul Azim ‘Anar’, who went missing from Kolkata on May 13, had been “brutally murdered” in the city, the West Bengal Police on Wednesday said that investigations into the case of the politician’s killing had been taken up by the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Stating that the police had “reliable inputs” that Mr. Azim “may have been murdered”, Akhilesh Chaturvedi, Inspector-General of Police, CID, said that the police were yet to recover the victim’s body.

“We had no prior intimation of the Bangladeshi MP’s arrival to this city. We came to know about him after his acquaintance in Kolkata, Gopal Biswas, filed a missing diary on May 18. A Special Investigation Team was formed by the Barrackpore Police Commissionerate to trace the missing politician,” he said.

CID IG Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi addresses the media on the alleged murder of Bangladesh MP Anwarul Azim, in North 24 Parganas, Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

CID IG Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi addresses the media on the alleged murder of Bangladesh MP Anwarul Azim, in North 24 Parganas, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

“We were in the middle of that investigation when, on May 20, we received an intimation from the Ministry of External Affairs and today an input that makes us suspect that the victim may have been murdered,” Mr. Chaturvedi said.

Unofficial sources said the police were exploring the possible angle of the body of the victim being dismembered and disposed of.

“Anwar was murdered in a planned manner at a residence in Kolkata. Police forces of both India and Bangladesh are working simultaneously to unearth the motive behind the murder and who the culprits are. We are following all international protocols to get to the bottom of this,” Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told reporters in Dhaka on Wednesday morning.

On whether the police found blood stains in the apartment of the luxury condominium in New Town in Kolkata's outskirts where the MP’s whereabouts were last traced on May 13, Mr. Chaturvedi said, “Our forensic team is examining the suspected crime scene. It’s too early to speak about that.”

The officer confirmed that the apartment was owned by Sanjib Ghosh, an employee of the State excise department, who, in turn, had rented it out to Akhtaruzzaman, a U.S. national, but refused to divulge further details of the ongoing investigation.

“We are doing our best to solve this case,” Mr. Chaturvedi said.

Mr. Azim, police sources said, was accompanied by two men and a woman when he checked into the apartment. While CCTV footage showed that the unidentified men and woman left the residential complex in phases between May 15 and May 17, the MP could not be traced.

At least two of the three people accompanying the victim later returned to Bangladesh, the police said.

A team of officials from the Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate arrived on Wednesday morning at the designated apartment in New Town and were conducting investigations inside till reports were last received.

The Bangladeshi establishment, meanwhile, confirmed that they had arrested three individuals from the Wari area of Dhaka in connection with the case.

Missing complaint

The search for the missing MP, who reportedly arrived in Kolkata on May 12 to undergo medical treatment, began six days later after Gopal Biswas, a resident of Baranagar in north Kolkata and acquaintance of the Bangladeshi politician at whose house the latter had put up on arrival, filed a missing person complaint with the local police on May 18.

In his complaint, Mr. Biswas stated that Mr. Azim left the Baranagar residence to keep a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon of May 13 while stating that he would be back home for dinner.

Later that day, Mr. Biswas alleged that he received a WhatsApp communication from the MP’s phone stating he would be moving to Delhi on some urgent work and that his host need not call him up. On the morning of May 15, the complainant stated he received another communication from the victim confirming he reached Delhi and was “flanked by VIPs”.

Mr. Biswas alleged that the Bangladeshi MP went incommunicado on May 17 which prompted him to file a missing person police complaint a day later.

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