It was a diabolical way to frame a man, and it almost succeeded. All because he had dared to complain against his daughter being teased.
For the past few weeks, Halisur Rehman, a Russel Street businessman, had been harried by a local youth, Talat Omar, teasing his daughter, an MBA student at a reputed city institution. Rehman had even lodged a few complaints with the police.
On Wednesday afternoon, he was delivered a packet by a courier agency. He found that it contained a bunch of Bangladeshi passports, which he would later learn were forged.
Soon after, a group of policemen from the anti-terrorist squad stormed his house and caught him with the packet in his hands. The police told him he was a spy and a terrorist and the fake passports were evidence enough.
“This is a big mistake. I have been framed,” shouted Rehman, as the police started to push him out of his house and into a waiting van. “This is the revenge of a man who has been teasing my daughter.” But the police were hardly in a mood to listen.
Once inside a room at the Lalbazar police headquarters, the gruelling interrogation began. What were his links with Bangladesh-based terrorists' Since when has he been dealing with fake passports' Who are his contacts' Who has he been supplying these fake passports to' Was he connected with the ISI'
All the while, Rehman kept protesting his innocence. He repeated to the police what he had told them earlier in the day: that he was being framed.
He pleaded with them to verify the complaints he had lodged with the local police station about Omar teasing his daughter and how this man was possibly behind the frame-up.
His protestations of innocence finally convinced officer-in-charge of the anti-terrorist cell Shabbir Ahmed. The investigators cross-checked with the local thana and found that complaints had, indeed, been lodged against Omar.
Rehman’s business associates vouched for his innocence and assured the cops he had no shady links. Rehman was released on Thursday.
The police then began a second line of investigation: who sent Rehman the packet of forged passports and how' From records with the courier agency, the police learnt that it had been sent from a fictitious address in Delhi in the name of one Amit Arora, who was Rehman’s neighbour some years ago.
The police realised it was too much of a ‘coincidence’ that they should receive an anonymous tip-off about a packet being couriered to Rehman and reach the spot just at the time that it was being delivered. “It was a frame-up,” confirmed deputy commissioner, detective department, Soumen Mitra.