How Rana fled after rescue
While ruling-Awami League lawmaker Murad Jong has been denying any kind of association with Sohel Rana, owner of the collapsed building in Savar, Rana's mobile phone record shows how close they were.
According to Rab sources, at 9:05am on Wednesday, just 20 minutes after the collapse, Murad Jong had called Rana over the mobile phone to enquire about his condition. Rana, however, could not receive the call, as he got trapped inside the building and was almost unconscious.
After his arrest Rana told Rab that he had gone to his office in the basement of Rana Plaza around 8:00am that day. He was holding a meeting with his five aides on an anti-hartal procession. When the building collapsed about 45 minutes later, he had fainted.
His associates soon pleaded the locals through a crushed window to rescue them. Rana was rescued with a minor injury in a hand, he told Rab.
Witnesses said soon a microbus owned by local parliamentarian Murad Jong took him to Insaf Hospital in Ashulia.
Earlier, Murad Jong had claimed that he had no link-- familial, social, economical or political -- with Rana. He also challenged that he would quit politics if anyone could prove his association with Rana.
Sohel Rana, however, told reporters that Murad Jong was like an elder brother to him.
Law enforcers and locals say with the blessing of local AL MP and the administration, Rana used to enjoy impunity for all his criminal activities, including illegal drug business, extortion, control over jhut [garment wastage] business and land grabbing. He earned his fortune through these, they added.
Meanwhile in primary interrogation Rana told Rab that receiving treatment at Insaf Hospital for two hours, he had fled and taken shelter in one of his friends' house in the capital's Mohammadpur area. He spent the night and the next day there.
He then went to one Afzal Sharif's house at Manikganj where he stayed for Friday night. In the morning he crossed the Padma River and went to his relative Abul Hossain's house in Faridpur.
Without passing much time there he and his aide Anil left for Benapole in a microbus. Around 11:30pm on Saturday, Anil dropped Rana at Jhikorgachha, from where Shah Alam Mithu, who allegedly helps people cross the Indian border, took him to his house in Benapole. Rana was supposed to cross the border on Sunday afternoon or in the night.
Rab said Rana had also contacted two women -- one from Jhalakathi and the other from Srimongol -- to help him flee to India.
Mithu's wife Sheui Begum told The Daily Star that Rana had reached their house around midnight. He went straight to bed after dinner.
Since morning to the afternoon of the following day, he had watched news of the building collapse on television, said Sheuli, adding that during the stay Rana had taken Phensidyl [an addictive contraband pharmaceutical].
Around 1:30pm Rab had arrested Rana and Mithu. Early that day the elite force had arrested Anil in Faridpur.
As of filing of this report at 7:00pm yesterday, law enforcers could not start grilling Rana extensively.
However, a top Detective Branch official, seeking anonymity, yesterday told The Daily Star that they would probably start interrogating him that night.
Meanwhile, the elite force arrested Abul Hossain, 43, yesterday afternoon on charge of helping Rana flee.
According to Rab officials, Abul helped Rana make the plan to escape to India. Abul and Rana are relatives.
Rana's detained father Abdul Khaleq had joined BNP during the party's last tenure as the government, but he returned to Awami League when the latter assumed power in 2009.