Seven persons were arrested Wednesday night for their suspected links to the abduction of kindergarten student Parag Mondol, a day after the six-year-old returned to his parents.
Three of the arrested admitted to the press yesterday their direct involvement in kidnap.
However, leader of the 10-member kidnapping gang Ameer Hossain alias Langra Ameer, a listed criminal active in Old Dhaka and Keraniganj, is still at large along with his accomplices Al Amin and Akash, law enforcers say.
Ameer is a close friend of Juba League President Aminul Islam Jewel of Shubhadda union in Keraniganj and Chhatra League leader Sajedur Rahman Saju of Jurain.
Law enforcers suspect the two political leaders might have some roles in the abduction.
Of the seven, six persons including two students were arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion. Both youths were present with motorbikes on the spot during the abduction.
The six persons are: Zahidul Hasan, 18, an HSC student of Dania College in Shonir Akhra, Mohammad Ali Rifat, 19, an aeronautical engineering student at a private institute in Uttara; Kala Chand, 30, now a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver; Abul Kashem, 35, brother-in-law of Ameer, and Rizvi Ahmed Onik, 18, and Alfaz Hossain alias Masud, 18, friends of the two students.
They were paraded before the media at the Rab headquarters in Uttara yesterday afternoon.
The Keraniganj police arrested Mamun Miah, 43, of Shuvadya Purba Gram, from Munshiganj. He is also brother-in-law of Ameer.
Rab officials said Zahid and Rifat had participated in the abduction while Kala Chand acted as a spy to keep track of the movements of Parag and his family members from around their house before the incident.
Kashem, Rizvi and Alfaz had sheltered the kidnappers at their residences and kept them informed about the presence of law enforcers.
Son of businessman Bimol Mondol, Parag was abducted on November 11 and he was found three days later from Atibazar, two kilometres off the boy's residence.
Lt Col Ziaul Ahsan, director of Rab's Intelligence Wing, said Parag's family paid a ransom of Tk 50 lakh in cash for his release.
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH
At the press briefing, all the six claimed they became involved in the kidnap for money but do not know the amount of the ransom.
Describing his part in the crime, Zahid said he along with Rifat was present on the spot with his motorbike.
Ameer and Al Amin had opened fire on Parag's mother, sister and car driver as the latter tried to resist the kidnapping.
"After the shooting, Ameer, Al Amin and Akash sped away with Parag while I and Rifat returned to our localities," he added.
According to Zahid and Rifat, Ameer had a feud with Parag's father. He hired them, saying Parag's father had bought his land and was not paying up.
Both youths claimed they were unaware of the abduction plan.
Rifat added, "My father is a CNG driver and I was facing difficulties in financing my studies. I agreed to help Ameer because he proposed to give me Tk 18,000 every month for the studies."
They knew Ameer through local Chhatra League leader Shajedur Rahman Saju.
Zahid, however, said he just went there to help Ameer recover the so-called money Parag's father was not paying up.
Kala Chand told the press, "I was just appointed around a month ago to keep an eye on Parag and his family members."
"I was promised a reward of Tk five lakhs with which I planned to buy an auto-rickshaw," said Kala Chand, adding that he had not received any money yet.
His family members told The Daily Star that he had been working for Bimol Mondol's battery factory at Tantibazar for eight years till 2009. Later, he started driving auto-rickshaw to earn a living.
These three suspects said they did not know where the boy was hidden after the abduction.
Ameer's brother-in-law Kashem claimed he first came to know about the incident when Zahid, Rifat and another youth had gone to his Bhakurta house in Basila to look for Ameer.
Onik and Alfaz claimed innocence and said they came to know about the abduction from Zahid and Rifat.
Rab is now trying to arrest Ameer, who resumed criminal activities after coming out on bail recently, his associates, Commandeer M Sohail of the elite crime buster said at the briefing.
MAMUN ON REMAND
Meanwhile, Mamun Mia, brother of Ameer's first wife Eti, was placed on a seven day-remand. Eti, picked up on Sunday and later released, provided detectives with information about the suspects.
Mamun, arrested in Nimtoli of Sirajdikhan upazila of Munshiganj, was produced before a Dhaka court with a 10-day remand prayer. The court granted seven days, Shakhawat Hossain, officer-in-charge of South Keraniganj, said.
Police sources said apart from criminal activities, both Ameer and Mamun were engaged in sewing machine business.
"During the interrogation, Mamun said they planned the abduction to arrange a large investment," said an official of Detective Branch-South.
Sanwar Hossain, senior assistant commissioner of DB-South, said they had information that Ameer and Mamun contacted one another before and after the abduction.
Contacted, both DB official Sanowar Hossain and OC Sakhawat Hossain said they were yet to be sure whether the six persons detained by Rab were really involved in the abduction and shooting as the arrestees were yet to be handed over to police.
The police and DB officials claim they have no information about the payment of ransom.
They said police asked the criminals through Eti to return Parag. Eti called the gang and said if anything happens to the boy, the police will kill her and her son."
Meanwhile, the High Court yesterday ordered the authorities concerned to take proper steps ensuring security of Parag and his family, reports BSS.
A two-judge bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Farid Ahmed issued the order responding to a writ petition filed by Nazim Ahmed, editor of weekly Saptabarna.