‘The mugging was staged’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 20, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:26 AM, June 20, 2020

‘The mugging was staged’

Three employees of a mobile phone shop who stole Tk 33 lakh held

The mugging took place in broad daylight.

A mobile phone sales representative was robbed in Rajshahi city's New Market area on Thursday morning, while he was on his way to deposit Tk 33 lakh to a bank.

But something was not right about the story; at least that's what the law enforcers sensed.

And nine hours into the incident, through their investigation, police found out that the mugging was actually staged.

Three sales staff of Vivo Mobile Phone plotted the incident and stole the money, Boalia police of Rajshahi said in a press conference yesterday.

Police arrested them from different spots of the city and recovered Tk 32 lakh from their possession.

Noticing a heightened sale of smartphones amid the pandemic, they, driven by greed, decided to steal the money, said Nibaran Chandra Burman, officer-in-charge of Boalia police Station, quoting statements of the involved.

After the mugging, the sales representative gave misleading information and his statement contradicted their initial inquiry into the incident, he said

The arrestees are Zafar Iqbal (35), Rajshahi city manager of the store, and sales representatives -- Mehedi Hasan Faisal (25), who got mugged, and Taijul Islam (24).

They had helped too. Two outsiders -- Ariful Islam and Md Ohidul -- were involved with the crime. They are on the run, said police.

THE PLANNING

The store collected money from retailers and deposited it into a bank account of the distributor for bringing phones to Rajshahi for selling.

The sales increased manifolds since the restrictions were lifted in Rajshahi, said the OC, quoting the arrestees.

In the last couple of weeks, the store witnessed a sale of around Tk 1.5 crore. Noticing that, the three planned to stage a mugging.

Taijul and Faisal contacted Ariful, who was a former employee and had "experience in mugging", the OC said, quoting the arrestees.

While giving confessional statements, Taijul and Faisal denied involvement of Zafar. But police decided to investigate Zafar as his motorcycle was used in the mugging.

Around 11:45am on Thursday, when Faisal went out of the store to deposit the money at a bank, some 300 yards away, he was carrying the money bag.

He was accompanied by Sohel, an employee of the distributors, who was also carrying a separate bag with Tk 4 lakh. Sohel was unaware of the plan.

Taijul drove a motorbike, with Ariful as a pillion, towards Faisal. Ariful took away Faisal's bag without any hindrance.

HOW COPS SOLVED THE CASE

Police had doubts regarding the statements of Faisal and Zafar after they saw video footage of the incident and found that the staffers showed a different spot of occurrence. Also, Faisal did not try to stop the muggers.

In police questioning, staffers named Taijul as an employee who became irregular, citing the Covid-19 situation.

Police contacted Taijul and asked him to come to Boalia Police Station.

When he did, they noticed his motorcycle matched the one used in the mugging.

They also found a photo in his phone where it showed that Faisal and Zafar were counting the money at the store before sending it to the bank.

Finally, Taijul confessed and showed where they hid the money.

Based on his confession, police raided Ohidul's residence in Kashiadanga area at 9pm that night and recovered the bag with Tk 32 lakh.

Taijul told police that he gave Tk 1 lakh to Ariful after the mugging and kept the bag with the rest of the money at Ohidul's place for distributing among themselves later.

The OC added, "We're looking for Ohidul and Ariful."

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