BNP nomination seeker Abu Bakar, PhD student Enamul Haque Mony and former RAB-7 commanding officer Hasinur Rahman Duke were reportedly abducted from Dhaka on November 18, November 22 and August 8 respectively but ‘ransoms’ were collected from Chandraghona in Rangamati.
At least three of the mobile numbers to which the ransoms were sent through mobile banking services by the families of Hasinur on Enamul matched and the locations of all the phones were at Chandraghona on November 23, the investigators of the cases said.
The Detective Branch investigators confirmed that the family of Bangladesh Nationalist Party nomination seeker Abu Bakar Abu of Jashore sent ransom to 12 numbers located at Chandraghona on November 19.
‘We confirmed that the numbers were used at Chandraghona but conducted no raid as their identities were yet to be established,’ said a senior Detective Branch official involved in the investigation.
One of the 12 numbers used by the abductors for the ‘ransom’ matched the number used by the abductors of both Hasinur and Enamul, the investigators said.
The ‘abductors’ started calling families of the three victims after midnight and took highest Tk 1.7 lakh in ransom, the investigators and families said.
‘We want to know who the abductors are,’ said Enamul’s brother Quamaruzzman Masud, adding, ‘although, we are happy that we found him alive’.
BNP leader Abu Bakar was reportedly abducted by some people identifying them as detectives from Metropolitan Hotel at Paltan on November 18 and Dakkhin Keraniganj police station officials found his body floating on Buriganga River on November 22.
‘DB is investigating the case of Abu Bakar sincerely,’ said Dhaka Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner (media and public relations) Masudur Rahman.
The investigators of the case said that they were still analysing CCTV footages collected around the hotel where Abu Bakar was seen for the last at about 8:35pm on November 18.
The investigators recorded testimonies of the family members of Abu Bakar and examined the call record of his phone.
According to the investigators, his phone was at Nawabpur in Dhaka at 9:50pm on November 18 before he was taken through Matsya Bhaban, Institution of Engineers Bangladesh, Shahbagh and Doyel Chattar.
‘We still are not clear about the motive behind the killing of a popular politician,’ said one of the investigators.
On August 8, Hasinur Rahman, a decorated officer of the Bangladesh Army who lost his job and was jailed over his alleged extremist link in Chittagong, was picked up by a group of people wearing ‘DB’ jackets on a microbus at Mirpur Defence Officers Housing Society when he was returning home.
His wife Shamima Akhter approached different authorities since then and filed a general diary with Pallabi police station. Both Rapid Action Battalion and police denied to have arrested Hasinur Rahman.
Hasinur’s family gave Tk 50,000 to four mobile numbers between 9:30am and 10:30am in ransom on August 11 and, later informed the police investigators.
The police investigators were yet to identify or arrest the abductors who collected the ransom.
‘We are trying to find out them,’ Pallabi police station officer-in-charge inspector Nazrul Islam said.
Enamul, PhD student of a Korean university, reportedly went ‘missing’ in the evening on November 22 on his way to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to fly to Korea to complete his research on cancer.
The Dakshin Khan police station officials launched an investigation following a missing complaint.
The ‘abductors’ started calling his family members from 12:25am on November 23 for ransom.
The investigators found that a number from Chandraghona was used for demanding the ransom for his release and to the same number Hasinur’s family sent Tk 15,000 in ransom on August 11.
The abductors used five numbers to collect Tk 1 lakh in ransom from Enamul’s family overnight.
On November 24, the family members moved to the Detective Branch office for investigation.
The Rapid Action Battalion on November 24 announced that they arrested the Enamul, 31, for his alleged involvement in anti-government propaganda and copyright infringement by hosting nearly two dozens of online news portals.
Battalion official Muhammad Mohiuddin Faruki said that Enamul was travelling by a train from Ishwardy in Pabna and was arrested at airport railway station in Dhaka at about 7:15am on November 24.
He said that they heard that ‘organised crime groups’ collected money from Enamul’s family.
The miscreants used eights International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers with 100 phone numbers, he said, adding that they could not conduct any operation without confirming the identity of the perpetrators.
Enamul’s brother Quamaruzzman Masud said that the police investigators had details on how money was sent to the ‘abductors’.
The money sent in ransom was cashed out at Chandraghona but the users of the phones gave their addresses in different areas including Chapainawabganj, families and investigators said.
Chandraghona police station officer-in-charge Ashraf Uddin said he was not aware of any such group operating in his area.
Rights activist Nur Khan Liton, former executive director of rights group Ain o Salish Kendra, said that the perpetrators might have wanted want to divert the attention in guise of taking ransom.
‘In past, we saw a number of cases, in which abductors collected ransom from the families of the victims of enforced disappearance,’ he added.
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