A day after abducted kindergarten student Parag Mondol was found in Keraniganj, conflicting stories have emerged surrounding the ransom.
According to Rab intelligence and other sources, a ransom of more than Tk 1 crore was paid to a gang led by a listed criminal who recently came out of jail on bail in an abduction and arms case.
"We had all the information regarding the deal between Parag's family and abductors. But we didn't intervene considering the boy's safety and that is how the criminals escaped after taking the ransom money," said Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, director of Rab's Intelligence Wing.
"We have specific information that Parag's family paid a ransom of Tk 50 lakh in cash for his release. This was not made known to us by the family, though.”
Also, several sources insist that the actual ransom amount was more than Tk 1 crore.
But Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmood Khandker differed on the issue of ransom and claimed that the child had been rescued through police intelligence activities and application of “strategic techniques”.
IGP Khandker declined to disclose the “strategic techniques”, saying, "The strategy of the law enforcers and intelligence should never be disclosed for the sake of arresting the criminals."
He refused to admit the failure of law enforcers and intelligence in rescuing the boy as well as in arresting the criminals. "The police may not be successful instantly in every case. There is still scope of arresting the criminals and bringing them to book."
While the family of the boy still remains anxious about the child's security and safety, both the IGP and Rab intelligence chief claimed that they were firm in their position to arrest the abductors keeping the safety of the boy and his family in their consideration.
Yesterday, Director of the Legal and Media Wing of Rab Commander M Sohail said now that the boy had been found they were trying to arrest the criminals.
"The criminals had assigned one Kala Chan in Keraniganj to watch the movement of Parag's family. We learnt that he was paid a split of Tk 4 lakh from the ransom money. But all of a sudden he has mysteriously disappeared [from yesterday]."
Sources say this Kala Chan was actually arrested by Rab.
Rab said it had failed to arrest the main culprit, although it was keeping track of the kidnappers by tapping mobile phone conversations until Parag was found early yesterday.
Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan added the battalion had identified a mid-level criminal, active mainly in Old Dhaka and Keraniganj area, as the main culprit. "The criminal had planned the abduction soon after he came out of prison on bail recently."
On the matter of ransom, he said, "The money was handed over to the kidnappers at a place in the city outskirts, a few kilometres away from Aminbazar around 9:00pm, about three hours before the child was found at Atibazar [a few kilometres off the place where the transaction took place].”
When the money was handed over, a Rab team was nearby. But since the child had not yet been found, they could not make a move. The gang managed to get away, he added.
A day before, Commanding Officer of Rab-10 Lt Col Kamrul Hasan had said they had information that the abductors had demanded Tk 2 crore from the family. But the family did not disclose this to the law enforcers.
So far, the family has remained tight-lipped on the issue of ransom fearing a backlash. However, Parag's uncle Pradip Kumar Dutta Tuesday night said the family had its own “arrangement” to rescue the child.
Meanwhile, police arrested a person in Munshiganj in connection with the abduction of Parag. Mamun Mia, 43, of Shuvadya Purba Gram, was arrested in Nimtali area of Sirajdikhan upazila, reports our Munshiganj Correspondent.
Afzal Hossain, sub-inspector of South Keraniganj Police Station, told The Daily Star last night that they were certain about Mamun's involvement in the crime.
Captain Abhishek Ahmed, Rab's legal and media wing deputy director, said last night that they had identified some of the criminals involved in the abduction.
Son of businessman Bimol Chandra Mondol of Keraniganj, Parag was abducted by a band of armed criminals on the morning of November 11 while he along with his two sisters and mother was about to get into their car for going to school.
The criminals also fired two shots at his mother, one at his elder sister and another at the driver of the car.