Kingpin survives 'shootout'
The police early yesterday announced the death of Parag kidnap kingpin Ameer in a â€œshootoutâ€ at Tongi. But a drama unfolded three hours later, around 7:00am.
Doctors found the man alive soon after law enforcers took the â€œbodyâ€ to Tongi Upazila Health Complex.
After he regained consciousness at the health centre, he claimed himself to be Moktar Hossain and said the police had shot him at close range after blindfolding him.
But his wife Beauty confirmed to local journalists that he was Ameer.
Monirul Islam, inspector of South Keraniganj Police Station and investigation officer of the Parag abduction case, filed two other cases yesterday. One was against the couple for possessing firearms and ammunition and another against Ameer alone for attacking police.
Beauty was in the custody of Tongi police along with her four-year-old son Abeer and domestic help Rubi as of 9:00pm yesterday, sources said.
Ameer was shifted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with bullet injuries in the chest and head.
Around 4:55am yesterday, Deputy Commissioner Masudur Rahman of Dhaka Metropolitan Police sent a text message asking this correspondent to contact DB Inspector Saidur Rahman.
Contacted within minutes, the inspector said, "Ameer was killed in an encounter when we raided a house at Tilargati-Singpara of Tongi around 3:45am.
"After a tip-off, a joint team of DB and Keraniganj police raided a house at Tongi and an incident of shootout took place between them and Ameer."
The law enforcers repeatedly knocked on the door and broke in when nobody responded. Ameer, sensing their presence, opened fire, forcing them to retaliate, he added.
Later, police found Ameer lying in a pool of blood in the room and considered him dead as two bullets had hit him in the chest and head, Saidur added. They sent the â€œbodyâ€ to Tongi Upazila Health Complex.
Tongi Police Station officer-in-charge Ismail Hossain said, "As doctors found Ameer alive around 7:00am, they suggested taking him to DMCH."
Police also picked Beauty, her son and domestic help, who were in another room during the â€œshootoutâ€.
Sanwar Hossain, a senior assistant commissioner of DB South, who led the drive to arrest Ameer, said, "We thought Ameer had died in the shooting.â€
During the gunfight, three policemen -- Inspector Mejbah Uddin Ahmed and sub-inspectors Azizul Huq Miah and Mominul Huq -- suffered injuries as they bumped into stairs and walls while trying to dodge bullets.
Police said now that 42-year-old was alive, he was shown arrested along with his wife Beauty Begum, 32. They also claimed a seizure of two pistols and 85 bullets from the couple's possession.
But according to Rajbari police and Rapid Action Battalion officials Ameer was arrested Tuesday night along with his accomplice Al-Amin at Goalanda in Rajbari. But till yesterday, the police kept on denying the arrest.
Sources said after unofficially keeping him for interrogation, Ameer was taken to his Tongi residence for recovery of his illegal arms. He was shot after the arms and ammunition were found.
On the morning of November 11, an armed gang kidnapped Parag after shooting the kid's mother, sister and their driver when they were getting into their car for school.
Three days later, the boy was freed at Atibazar in Keraniganj reportedly against a ransom of Tk 50 lakh.
Police and Rab so far arrested 11 persons including Ameer in connection with the kidnap.
Ibrahim Sarkar, a local journalist who rushed to Tongi hospital after the â€œgunfightâ€, told The Daily Star, "Around 7:00am, Ameer started groaning and moving his hands and legs.
"I talked to Ameer after he regained consciousness. He told me that he was not Ameer; he was Moktar Hossain of Munshiganj. He also said police had blindfolded him and fired two shots, pointing weapons at his chest and head.
"Ameer requested me to save his life. He also urged me to request doctors to remove bullets from his body."
Talking to The Daily Star at DMCH, Ameer said, "I am a rich trader. I had no arms in my possession and police fired at me without any provocation."
Asked whether he was arrested earlier at Goalanda in Rajbari, Ameer did not reply and kept silent.
His aide Al-Amin's parental residence is at Goalanda.
Replying to a question over the ransom, Ameer said, "As I am not Ameer. How can I say about it?"
WHAT BEAUTY SAYS
"During my conversation with Beauty at Tongi police custody, she said her husband Ameer had taken the boy [Parag] to their house at Atibazar on November 11," Ibrahim said.
On the night of November 14 after releasing Parag, the Ameer family first went to Jurain and the next day to Tongi. They hurriedly rented a two-room house. Ameer introduced himself as an expatriate to the landlord. He also purchased a television, fridge and furniture.
"Beauty also said her husband had purchased a piece of land last week for Tk 17 lakh with the help of land broker Morshed and Saheb Ali.â€
She added when Parag was in their captivity, Al Amin had injected the kid with sedative.
Tongi OC Ismail Hossain also said he learnt that Ameer had paid for purchasing a piece of land. He was yet to know the source of the money.
DB and Dhaka district police held a press briefing jointly at the Media Centre of DMP yesterday noon. DC-DB (South) Monirul Islam and Dhaka Superintendent of Police Habibur Rahman, among others, were present.
Monirul Islam trashed the report of paying of Tk 50 lakhs as ransom. "The criminals released the boy after a technique had been applied. Besides, a pressure was exerted on them by detaining their family members and relatives."
Asked about the motive behind the abduction, he said, "We are not sure yet. They might have kidnapped the boy for ransom, but they did not get time to realise the money. As we have applied a technique, they had to leave their hope for the ransom money."
Over the Rab's claim that it had evidence on the payment of ransom, the DC-DB said, "Any other agency might have got the information. But we have no such information."
He added. "If the investigator of the case feels, he might interrogate those officials who spoke about the demand and payment of ransom money.â€