One shot dead as Rab 'foils bank robbery attempt'
An alleged robber was killed in a “gunfight” with members of Rapid Action Battalion as the special force claimed to have foiled a robbery attempt at a Sonali Bank branch in Dhamrai of Dhaka early yesterday.
The dead is Mohammad Masuk, 45. He was a motorcycle mechanic in the capital's Dholaikhal area and lived with his family in Bangshal, said his family members.
Rab also arrested five others at a flat on the second floor of Hazi Riaz Uddin Plaza. The state-owned bank's branch is located on the first floor of the building.
The arrestees are Sabuj, 62, Badsha Mia Dewan, 35, Riazul Islam, 33, Romena Begum, 25, and Shila, 28. Romena's son, Sakib, 10, was also picked up by Rab from the spot.
According to Rab and the building owner, the “gang members” had rented the flat two months ago. They also claimed to be garment factory workers.
Khandakar Lutful Kabir, commanding officer of Rab-4, said the gang's plan was to enter the bank's vault, just below the flat, by cutting through the floor and make off with money and valuables. On Friday night, they started boring a large hole on the floor with various cutting tools, knowing that the bank would remain closed until Sunday, he said.
Acting on a tip-off, a Rab team raided the flat around 3:50am and arrested the five from two rooms.
As the Rab members went to another room of the flat, Masuk started firing on them from the room's toilet, forcing the Rab men to retaliate with gunfire. The brief gunfight left him injured, according to a Rab press release.
Masuk was rushed to Dhamrai Health Complex where doctors pronounced him dead.
Rab claimed that they found a four square feet floor tile already removed.
One pistol with four bullets and tools used in cutting concrete were recovered from the flat, they said.
Three Ansar men -- Rafiqul Islam, Bidhan Bishwas and Shawkot Ali -- were on duty at the bank's branch Friday night.
Rafiqul told The Daily Star that they did not hear any sound of floor cutting.
Apart from the 1,600sqft flat, there are prayer room, a healthcare office, and a National Life Insurance Company office on the second floor of the five-storey building.
This correspondent saw marks of blood on the staircases of the first floor. However, police did not allow him to enter the flat or the bank.
Hearing the news of her husband's death, Masuk's wife Nasima Akter along with her son Arju Mia went to Dhamrai Police Station yesterday.
Talking to reporters there, she claimed that Masuk went to Chittagong to buy motor parts on Tuesday and since then he did not answer her phone calls.
“Masuk is a victim of a well-planned conspiracy. He could never be a robber,” she claimed.
Nasima said Masuk was not in good health. He had a motorcycle accident just two months ago. Moreover, the upper left side of his body was burnt by boiling water. He had been suffering from various diseases as well.
Masuk's body was sent to Dhaka Medical College morgue for an autopsy. Morgue sources said a bullet was found in Masuk's skull.
The arrestees were handed over to Dhamrai police last night.
Rizaul Haque, officer-in-charge of Dhamrai Police Station, said filing of a case was underway.