‘School buses’ used in mugging

Police refuses recording snatching case

Detectives unearthed the network of a heinous gang that mugged people across the capital putting the name of a school of physically disabled persons on their microbuses. The issue came to light through the recent arrest of the gang’s five alleged members who confessed to the law enforcers of renting microbuses for a physically disabled persons’ school of the city, and using the microbuses in criminal activities including snatching.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (DB-East) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Atikul Islam disclosed the information during an exclusive interview with Bangladesh Post on Monday. He said DB Police arrested six members of the mugging gang from different parts of the city in this month. The leader of the gang is one Abdul Hoque alias Shopon, while other members Mizan, Shohag, Barek and Rasel.

However, DB is hunting another snatcher who is identified as Mizan, hailed from Rampura area of the capital, he added. Atik said each of the arrested muggers have seven to eight criminal cases against them. “At the beginning of the current month, DB came to know that Mizan, Rasel and Barek – three accused of a case filed with Savar Model Police Station over high jacking of a cow-laden truck from Dhaka-Aricha highway at the beginning of the year – had been released from jail on bail only few days after they were sent there.”

“Though they usually target money-carrying vehicles of SA Paribahan, a courier service company, occasionally they also hijack cow-laden trucks from highway. Besides, they target those who withdraw huge amount of money from the banks,” the ADC said. “The muggers, during primary interrogation, have disclosed that some of the gang members target the victims sitting in the banks. When a victim comes out of the bank withdrawing money, other gang members intercept him and forcibly pick him up on their microbus, claiming themselves as DB members.”

“On April 18, members the gang mugged around Tk7 lakh from a fish trader named Kabirul Islam at Khalpar area under Uttara West Police Station in the capital. After the trader filed a complaint, a team of Uttara West Police Station visited the spot, but no case was lodged by the local police station in this regard for mysterious reason.”

Atik informed that as the trader could not give the exact registration number of the vehicle used for snatching, police discouraged him not to file the case. Police told him that if the snatchers are detected, they would communicate him. But till now, local police have not contacted him yet. “But after arrest of the snatchers, he was taken to the DB office where he identified one of the hijackers clearly,” said the ADC.

Officer-in-Charge of Uttara West Police Station Tapan Shaha, however, claimed ignorance over ‘any such snatching incident’. Asked why the victim was discouraged by police to file a case, DMP Joint Commissioner (Crime) Sheikh Nazmul Alam said, “If police really had denied to record the case, they did not discharge their duties properly.” “As per law, it is the duty of police to record case, if they get any complain,” the senior DMP official opined, besides assuring to look into the allegation and to take necessary steps if necessary.

“Around three weeks after coming out of jail on bail, on March 23, the gang shot a private company official near Bangababhan area during mugging as the latter tried to resist,” ADC Atik said, detailing that one Suja Uddin Talukder, an executive of Navana Engineering Ltd, was coming from Nawbabpur on foot. A snatcher swooped on him no sooner he had reached the footpath of the Bangabhaban around 1:00pm.

“The snatcher tried to take away his valuables, but Suza resisted vehemently. At one stage, another member of the gang came forward, opening fire on Suza. The muggers finally succeeded in snatching away his bag carrying valuables.” “But during the shooting spree one of the muggers, Zahidul Islam Shohag, accidentally also got shot. Pedestrians rescued both the injured and rushed them to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Meanwhile, as Suza could not identify Shohag as one of the muggers due to his tensed mental state at that time, Shohag claimed himself as a pedestrian during getting admission.”

“He claimed that he was just passing the area when the incident happened. But after using technology, detectives finally got evidences against Shohag which proved that he was also a member of the gang. There are several criminal cases including hijacking against him also,” the ADC added. Responding to a question, ADC Atik, who led the arrest operation, said, “The group is an organised hijacker group. All the members of the group are professional hijackers.” Replying to another question, he said, “We are conducting raids to arrest all the absconding members  of the group.”