Gold trader Mohiuddin Khan was going to New Market from Tantibazar riding a hired motorbike on 3 September. En route, a gang of robbers snatched Tk 2 million and a mobile phone from him at gun point in front of Dhaka University Club. The robbers then left him in the Abdullahpur area in Keraniganj.

Mohiuddin filed a case with Shahbagh police station over the incident the following day. Law enforcers raided different places including Dhaka city and arrested five persons including former policeman Golam Mostafa alias Shahin last Wednesday. The cash amount of Tk 110,000 was recovered from their possession.

Detective Branch (DB) of police said Golam Mostafa would take leave to carry out robbery and  mugging while he was a police constable. He lost his job for his involvement in robbery in 2005 after being caught red-handed. He then formed a 20-member gang of robbers. They would carry out robbery once or twice a week. They would target gold traders of Tantibazar, hundi and money exchange businessmen. They would usually carry out robbery in Dhaka, Keraniganj, Savar, Ashulia, Gazipur and Narayanganj.

According to DB officials, Mohiuddin owns a jewellery shop in New Market. Two members of the gang riding a motorcycle followed him from the Tantibazar area that day. Another five members took positions in the DU area earlier.

Ramna division police’s additional deputy commissioner Mishu Biswas told Prothom Alo that Golam Mostafa’s gang commits robbery in two teams. One team set a target by collecting information and the others directly do the robbery.

The law enforcers are trying to nab other members of the group, added Mishu.

The DB sources with knowledge of the matter said the gang would commit robbery masquerading as law enforcers. The gang would use a white jeep to avoid the eyes of police and RAB. An engineer owns the car. The car had a flag stand and a sticker of special forces on it. They would also carry walkie-talkies, handcuffs and jackets like law enforcement officers. These things made a cover for them as people would not suspect them even if they got engaged in robbery in broad daylight. They have been involved in robbery for 16 years this way.

A DB official on condition of anonymity told Prothom Alo that an engineer left the car unused after buying it from an auction. An acquaintance of his locality would use the car after fixing the vehicle. Sometimes the man would rent the car to a friend of his. It was through that friend that the car was used in the robbery.

Businessman Mohiuddin in the case statement alleged an olive-coloured Pajero intercepted his motorbike. The vehicle, however, was white.

“I mistakenly mentioned the car was olive coloured in the case,” Mohiuddin told Prothom Alo.

Robbers buy lands, houses

According to sources related to the investigation, Golam Mostafa bought land in the Savar and Demra areas of Dhaka and rented tin shed houses with the money earned by the robbery. He, however, lives with his family in a rented house in Savar. Golam Mostafa is from Kalagachia village of Amtali upazila of Barguna. There are more than 20 robbery, mugging and arms-related cases against him in various police stations of the country including the capital.

DB sources said he spent money on drugs and various other illegal activities. He also confessed to having bought land with the money earned from the robbery. DB said gang member Shahadat  Hossain would rent the car used in robbery. He is from Babuganj of Barishal. He is accused in two robbery cases. Sayed Monir Al Mahmud, from Charshalipur village in Charbhadrasan upazila in Faridpur, is another member of the gang. He lives in a rented house in Narayanganj’s Siddhirganj. He is accused in three cases of robbery and mugging.

DB said Rubul Islam, from Maheshpur village of Kaharole upazila in Dinajpur, and Jakir Hossain, from Patuakhali’s Mirzapur, are also members of the gang. They are accused in four and three cases respectively.