Police detectives arrested seven people from seven districts of the country who allegedly looted Tk 48 lakh from a vehicle on Dhaka Elevated Expressway posing as members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on October 10.
This was the first such daring heist on the newly opened expressway. Though the incident occurred nearly two weeks ago it was made public only when Harun-Or-Rashid, additional commissioner of the Detective Branch of DMP held a media briefing on Sunday.
The expressway was opened to traffic on September 3, a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated its 22.5KM Kawla-Farmgate stretch.
During the briefing at the Media Centre of DMP at Minto Road here Harun named the arrestees as Sabuj Mia alias Shyamal, 39, Shahrul Islam alias Sagar, 23, Abu Yusuf, 41, Didar Didar Munshi, 35, Ferdous Wahid, 35, Alamin Duari Dipu, 42, and Daud Hossain Mollah, 39.
He said the detectives recovered the private car used in the robbery, fake RAB jackets, handcuffs, toy-like pistols, wireless and mobile phone sets, ornaments brought with the looted money and Tk 23.85 lakh in cash.
The DB officer said the gang had long been robbing in a ‘cutout’ system and even they changed the nameplates of the used vehicles and damaged mobile phone sets.
On October 10, businessman Sohel Ahmed Sultan’s business accountant Animesh Chandra Saha withdrew Tk 83 lakh from a private bank in Uttara around 3pm.
Of them, Tk 35 lakh was given to one Rajon, a representative of Sohel’s business partner Jafar Iqbal, in the bank, he said.
Later, Animesh and another employee Shahjahan boarding on their own private vehicle were heading towards Banani from the Uttara with rest Tk 48 lakh, Harun said.
A maroon private car suddenly intercepted Animesh’s vehicle on the Elevated Expressway adjacent to Khilkhet Dental College around 4 pm, the DB chief said.
Five-six people sporting RAB uniform came out of the maroon car and told Animesh that there were arms in their vehicle, he said, adding that the robbers blindfolded and handcuffed Animesh, Shahjahan and their driver Abul Bashar.
The robbers looted Tk 48 lakh, one blank cheque and three mobile phone sets from the vehicle and left them at 300-feet area after roaming several roads of Dhaka, he said.
Later, businessman Sohel filed a case with Khilkhet police station in this regard.
The DB members identified the robbers with the help of CCTV footage, statements of the plaintiff and using other technologies, he said.
The robbery led by Sabuj was committed and the looted money was distributed among the robbers, Harun said.
The robbers used the money to pay house rent, buy gold for wives and gambling and also kept an amount for lawyers as fees to fight in court, the DB officer said, adding that efforts are on to recover the rest of the money.
Asked whether any member from the RAB was involved with the robbery gang, he said they found no one like that but a court mahuri, who joined the gang while dealing with a case, was found.
All the arrestees were robbers by profession and are accused in 10 to 15 cases including snatching, robbery, extortion and drugs in 13 districts including Dhaka, he added.