Crime dons active ahead of Eid, polls | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 18, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, September 18, 2008

Crime dons active ahead of Eid, polls

Notorious underworld criminals are coming out of hideouts and reorganising their operatives ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr and upcoming elections, which has resulted in the recent rise in criminal incidents like murder, extortion and mugging.
Officials of a number of intelligence agencies said they have reports that at least six top criminals wanted in eight to 10 murder cases visited the country three to four times in the last six months from their hideouts allegedly in India and had meetings with their associates.
Braving the risk of getting arrested, they are visiting Bangladesh to reorganise their groups that got disorganised after their fleeing the country for fear of "crossfire".
A top official of an intelligence agency said at least three sensational murders and a mugging incident that took place in the last 16 days indicate that top listed criminals are involved in them.
However, investigators are yet to arrest any suspected murderer and mastermind in these sensational cases.
After a special meeting at the home ministry on Monday, Home Adviser Maj Gen (retd) MA Matin told reporters that one reason behind the recent rise in criminal activities might be criminals' coming out of their hideouts ahead of Eid, Durga Puja and the upcoming elections.
Armed assailants gunned down a leading garment factory owner on Monday. In another incident, criminals snatched Tk 46 lakh after shooting an official of ACI Group on Sunday. On September 3, criminals shot dead a Sheltech executive at Lalmatia while on September 11 an employee of Sohagh Paribahan was killed for refusing to pay tolls at Kalyanpur.
Intelligence sources said top listed criminals Shahadat Hossain, Khorshed Jisan, Mollah Masud, Ashiq and Saidul made several visits to Bangladesh and met their accomplices in the last six months.
Mollah Masud, one of the members of the notorious "seven star" gang of Moghbazar, is alone on a list of 23 top criminals of Dhaka declared by the home ministry on December 27, 2001.
Five others are not on the list as they rose to their notoriety after 2001 but police and intelligence officials said they are also involved in many sensational murders and extortion cases in the city.
A source in the Detective Branch (DB) said Shahadat Hossain and Khorshed of Mirpur area visited a bordering northern district from India at least thrice in the last six months and made calls to their operatives to keep them united.
A top business leader of Mirpur said the Shahadat-Khorshed gang killed at least 10 business leaders in Mirpur-Pallabi areas in the last four years. "Now Shahadat is calling us over phone asking for tolls. Recently, such a call was made to a jewellery businessman," he said. The calling phone numbers suggest that he called sometimes from India and sometimes from Bangladesh, he added.
A member of Shahadat's gang arrested in 2006 told reporters that the group has around 250 members in areas under Mirpur Kafrul, Pallabi and Shah Ali police stations.
Jisan, another top criminal of Moghbazar, came to limelight after shooting down two DB officials in a hotel at Malibagh in 2003.
Businessmen in Karwan Bazar said Ashiq and Saidul--both accused in a number of murder and extortion cases--have visited the area demanding tolls from them.
A DB source said they raided a house in Old Dhaka where Jisan was hiding, but the criminal had already left the place.
Statistics of Dhaka Metropolitan Police shows 29 persons were murdered in June and 33 in July. There were 30 murders in August and eight in the last 15 days of this month.
"Although incidents of murder did not rise, sensational and clueless murders are increasing that indicates top listed criminals' involvement in them," said an intelligence official.
The law enforcers could not provide exact figures of mugging and extortion incidents but they admitted that such criminal activities have marked an increase recently.
In a desperate attempt to find targets, criminals shot construction worker Kabir Hossain at Kafrul on Monday as he refused to give the identities of the owners and contractors of several under-construction buildings at different places in the city.
Threatening their targets over phone in the name of top criminals like Subrata Bain and Shahadat has also remarkably increased recently, said a few officers-in-charge of several police stations in the city.
Additional Director General of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) Col Gulzar Uddin Ahmed admitted that extortion has marked an increase to some extent. He said they are looking into the matter seriously.
DMP Commissioner Naim Ahmed yesterday told The Daily Star that law and order "sometimes deteriorates and we take additional measures to control it and arrest criminals".
At a recent director general-level conference between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) in Dhaka, Bangladesh authorities gave the Indian side an updated list of 1,648 Bangladeshi criminals believed to be hiding in India.
Eight on the home ministry list of 23 criminals--Kamal Pasha, Freedom Sohel, Khurshed Alam alias Rashu, Titon, Liakat, Arman, Moshiur Rahman Kochi and Killer Abbas--were arrested at different times.
Alauddin was lynched before the Operation Clean Heart got off on October 16 midnight in 2002 while Pichchi Hannan was killed in an encounter with the Rab on June 26, 2005.
Liakat was recently set free on bail from Dhaka Central Jail and he could not be traced later.
Other suspected top terrors like Tokai Sagar, Subrata Bain, Kala Jahangir, Joy, Haris Ahmed, Prokash, Kamrul Hasan alias Chhoto Hannan, Imam Hussain, Jabbar Munna, Manik, Mollah Masud and Aga Shamim are still at large.

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