Mridul Kumar Chowdhury breaks down in tears as he is brought to a Chittagong private hospital after his rescue yesterday, six days after his abduction. Photo: Star
Mridul Kumar Chowdhury, the goldsmith abducted in Chittagong six days ago, was rescued in Comilla early yesterday.
It is still a mystery who kidnapped Mridul and why.
Family members claimed a gang of six, introducing themselves as DB and Rab personnel, had picked him up at gunpoint in front of his house on Hazari Lane in the port city on February 11.
Talking to reporters around 10:30am yesterday at Devpur Police Outpost in Comilla, the jeweller said the kidnapping might have a link to a case over snatching of 80-tola gold from his driver in October last year.
Mridul filed the case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka accusing three persons including an officer of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab)-2 of Dhaka.
Also yesterday, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman said the allegations of kidnapping against law enforcers are on the rise.
“If any derailed law enforcer misuses his power or the law he must face the consequences and undergo trial,” he told a private TV channel.
Sub-Inspector Md Qamruzzaman, who went from Chittagong Kotwali Police Station to bring back the businessman, said Mridul was left unconscious in a paddy field at Kangshanagar Bazar in Burichang upazila around 1:00am yesterday.
Regaining consciousness, Mridul found himself on the field in the rain with his hands tied with cloths, the officer quoted the family members as saying.
He stayed under a tree for two hours until night guard Harunur Rashid noticed him and took him to his house.
Later, Mridul talked to his wife Shelly Chowdhury and brother Shimul Chowdhury over Harun's cell phone.
Shimul then called the Kotwali police who informed the matter to Burichang Police Station, said the SI, also investigation officer of the case filed after Mridul's abduction.
On information from Burichang police, a team from the Devpur outpost near Kangshanagar Bazar rescued Mridul around 4:00am. He stayed at the outpost till starting for Chittagong around 11:30am with wife and brother and law enforcers.
Mridul was brought to Royal Hospital, a private clinic, in the port city around 5:00pm.
Dr Polash Biswas of the hospital told The Daily Star that Mridul had several marks of assault from knee to feet and on the waist and buttock. He said the victim was out of danger.
During his stay at the police outpost, Mridul said the abductors kept him blindfolded while his mouth and hands were also tied with cloths almost all the time. They tortured him on the day of kidnapping and kept him half-fed, he added.
Mridul also said the kidnappers shifted him to three places, but he could not identify the places as he was blindfolded, he added.
"I thought I wouldn't be kept alive. God saved me," said Mridul, chocking back emotion.
The kidnappers changed vehicles three times before releasing him around 1:00am, he said.
Mridul's brother Shimul Chowdhury said he saw marks of injuries due to beating on the victim's legs.
Shelly Chowdhury, the victim's wife, told The Daily Star yesterday that they gave up all hopes about her husband's return.
Talking about the events of February 11, she said, "As soon as he [Mridul] left home for his shop, I heard and saw Jhunu, a friend of my husband, shouting: 'They are taking him away'.
“I thought muggers might have snatched something from Jhunu. But our maid came and told me about the kidnap."
Squadron Leader Nazmul Haque, a deputy director of Rab-7, however, denied their involvement in the incident saying that the elite force had not conducted any raid in the Hazari Lane area on the very day.
Meanwhile, Chittagong Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam after visiting Royal Hospital told the reporters, "We are not sure who the abductors are.”
He added, "We suspect he [Mridul] was taken to Dhaka."
Regarding alleged involvement of law enforcers in the abduction, the commissioner said, "We are not including names of law enforcement agencies in the suspect list as the victim has not claimed so."
Hailing from Hathazari, Mridul lives in Chittagong with his family in a rented house. He has a jewellery shop on the first floor of Chittagong new market and he has a wholesale shop on Hazari Lane.
On October 3 last year, he sent his trusted driver Babul Paul with 80 tolas of liquid gold to Tantibazar area in the capital, SI Qamruzzaman said.
As Babul reached Kamalapur Railway Station, Maj Rokibul, an official of Dhaka Rab-2, and one Fahad forced him into a car. They took away the gold and dropped him after a while.
Mridul said he phoned Rokibul to have the gold returned. But the major told him that it would be returned after some examination.
When he called again, Rokibul asked him not to phone further; otherwise he would be in danger.
The CMM's Court in December ordered Criminal Investigation Department to probe the allegation.
The case was still under investigation, ASP Bijay Krisna Kor of CID said yesterday.