An alleged robber was killed in a “gunfight” in the port city’s Jalalabad area early yesterday, hours after he surrendered before police.
Belal Hossain, 45, of Cumilla’s Chandina upazila, was staying with his four-member family in the city’s Ambagan area. He had 13 cases filed against him, including robbery and murder cases, said Khulshi police, where Belal surrendered on Wednesday.
Police claimed that they took Belal to Jalalabad area, a hilly portion of Khulshi, after they learnt during interrogation that Belal hid his firearms there.
Belal’s family members said Belal surrendered before police so that he could return to a normal life.
They said before surrender, Belal talked to police officials of Khulshi Police Station through a local journalist. He was asked to surrender and assured that he would not be harassed.
They termed the incident “murder” and also alleged that police took money from them during the surrender.
Talking to The Daily Star, Officer-in-Charge Pranab Chowdhury said, “Belal came to the police station for surrender around Wednesday noon and we had an arrest warrant for him in a case.”
“After his arrest, police officials interrogated him for a long time to know where he hid his firearms as he was a notorious criminal. The accused at night told police that the firearms were concealed in Jalalabad hilly area,” said the OC, adding that police later took Belal to the area to recover the firearms.
The police official claimed that when the law enforcers reached the spot based on Belal’s information, his associates opened fire to snatch him around 1:00am yesterday.
Police then returned fire, triggering a “gunfight”, said the OC, adding that after the “gun battle”, police found the bullet-hit body of Belal on the spot.
He was declared dead after being taken to Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMCH), added the OC.
Talking to this correspondent, a family source said around seven to eight months ago, two narcotics cases had been filed against Belal and he fled to Dhaka to avoid arrest.
Belalreturned to Chattogram three to four months after the death of his father. The then OC of the police station arrested him at the city’s AK Khan, the source said.
His family gave Tk 5 lakh to the OC as police threatened to kill Belal in a “crossfire”, the source alleged.
Belal then fled to Dhaka again after getting out on bail and stayed there until Tuesday.
This time, Belal’s family with the help of a journalist went to the deputy commissioner (DC north) to arrange his surrender, the source claimed.
Belal, his wife and other relatives went to Khulshi Police Station to see him surrender. At that time, Tk 35,000 and Tk 5,000 were given to two police officials, the source claimed.
Belal’s wife went to the police station yesterday morning with breakfast. The on-duty officer told her that Belal had been taken on a drive. She was asked to leave the station.
Neighbours, after seeing the death news of Belal on TV, told the family that he was killed.
“It’s not a normal incident; it’s a cold-blooded murder,” said a family member of Belal.
WHAT POLICE SAY
Contacted, OC Pranab refuted the allegation of taking money from Belal’s family.
“I don’t take any single penny from anyone and the allegation is baseless,” said the police official, adding that during the surrender, he did not speak to any family members of Belal.
DC Bijoy Basak told this newspaper that Belal wanted to surrender before police and the message was conveyed to him by a local journalist.
“I told the journalist that if any criminal wants to surrender, police will help them. The shootout happened when police went to recover the firearms used by Belal,” said the DC.
Asked why Belal was not sent to the court on Wednesday, the DC said police needed to interrogate him.