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Shamim admits but claims no ill-motive

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Following the leak of his phone call with seven-murder accused Nur Hossain, Awami League lawmaker Shamim Osman yesterday admitted to making the conversation but claimed it was partially published in the media.

During a briefing at his Gulshan residence yesterday, Shamim claimed he had suggested that Nur, if not complicit in the crime, should surrender before the court.

However, in the leaked conversation, obtained by The Daily Star, Nur sought the ruling party lawmaker's help to escape.

In reply, Shamim said, "It would not be a problem," and asked, "Do you have any seal?" Nur replied, "Yes I have, but how would I go. There is alert everywhere."

Shamim then said there was nothing like that. "You proceed." Nur then requested the MP to inquire further and said, "I will call you tomorrow."

According to a Prothom Alo report published yesterday, the phone conversation took place on April 29, two days after the abduction of seven including Narayanganj panel mayor Nazrul Islam.  

Nur was around Dhanmondi-4 when the phone call was made, the report said.

In the conversation, Nur, crying, repeatedly said, “I did not have much education, I have made many mistakes. You are like my father, I love you very much."

With assurance, Shamim said, “Why do you worry this much? Give me some time. And if possible, meet Gaur Da.”  

The AL leader wanted to know whether Nur got “the information” he had sent. He said somebody was trying to kill two birds with one shot.

On April 27, Nazrul, his four aides, senior lawyer Chandan Sarker and his driver were kidnapped from the Dhaka-Narayanganj link road.

Of them, six including Nazrul and Chandan, were found dead and floating in the Shitalakkhya on April 30. Another body was found the following day. The other victims are Moniruzzaman Swapan, Tajul Islam, Liton, Jahangir and Ibrahim.

After the leak, locals and victims' families in Narayanganj demanded arrest and trial of Shamim in connection with the seven-murder.  

Also yesterday, Shamim told reporters that the conversation was recorded by an intelligence agency, as neither journalists nor the politicians can tap phone.

"I know that my telephone [conversation] is being recorded and I still talk over the phone," he said, claiming that part of his conversation was published partially.

During the briefing, Shamim said two police officials requested him to ask Nur to surrender if the accused contacts him.

"I told him [Nur] that you have a lot of money. You contact with the best lawyer of Bangladesh. There is one Mr Baset. I'm contacting with senior lawyers, you meet them brother," he told reporters.

"If you have no complicity, go and talk to them and surrender to the court. If you surrender to the court none will be able to kill you," Shamim said, adding that he had a fear that Nur might be killed as well.

In reply, Nur said he would not go to that lawyer rather to a barrister named Gouranga. "Ok, then go to Gouranga Da. [But] Do what I suggest," the lawmaker said without clarifying who is Gauranga or Baset.

After that, Shamim said, he wanted to know whether Nur had any visa. "I had to know that as I know my party high command will ask me about his [Nur’s] whereabouts."

He claimed Nur initially denied having one but later said he had Indian visa. "It means, if he has gone anywhere legally, it would be India — he may have or may not."

The ADG of Rab said Nur was now in India, the lawmaker said, adding he supports the Rab official's statement.

Referring to Rab, he said they have modern technologies and they can leak out phone conversations.

So, if they really knew that Nur had called him from Dhanmondi-4 area and was staying at Gulshan a day before, then why they didn't arrest him, said Shamim.

"…They detected my conversation…it means they were following the phone calls….if Nur Hossain is the killer, if Nur Hossain is the criminal, then why he was not arrested? Arresting him is not my duty. My duty is to raise my voice and I did that." he said.

Also at the briefing, Shamim sought assistance from the media, and said, "My life is under threat. I need your help."

Without naming, he alleged a high official was threatening him.

"I would not say his name, he is a respected person and I knew him as a good officer. He treated me like anything. My rank is higher than general, major general and his rank, I think, is like deputy secretary at best.

"He [the officer] told me that if I don't survive, you will not either,” he said.

"I asked him second time what he said. The man replied that if we don't live you people also will not live as well." He said this had hurt him very much.

Shamim also came down hard on Prothom Alo for publishing the report.

Daily Star

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