Robbery at different points of busy Dhaka-Chattogram highway continues unabated at night, causing panic among transport workers and commuters.
The bandits commit the crime either masquerading as policemen or passengers. They stop vehicles on the highway sometimes posing as law enforcers and sometimes getting on night coaches in the guise of ordinary passengers.
Korban alias Osman, Sumon, Shahid, Nishan, Badal and some other robbers are allegedly leading several gangs on the highway.
Korban is wanted in 21 criminal cases filed in the capital while Sumon in five cases, including two murder ones, lodged with Sitakunda Police Station in Chattogram.
The gang which is being led by Badal has about 50 members, said sources.
Rahamat Ullah, superintendent of police (Cumilla region) of Highway Police, admitted robbery on the highway.
He said they lack sufficient patrol cars to completely check the criminals.
“The units have to patrol long 256 kms from Kanchpur to Chattogram and vice versa with these 22 vehicles. It’s very difficult for us to check all the incidents of robbery on the highway with the insufficient patrol cars,” he said.
The SP underscored the need for allotment of more vehicles in a bid to strengthen patrol for curbing robbery on the motorway.
He also advised that 8-10 vehicles ply together on the highway, saying the criminals will not dare to attack those in a such as case. “We’re making transport workers aware in this regard.”
Wishing not to be named, a truck driver said he was coming to the capital from Chattogram at night a few days back.
On the way, he was stuck in a traffic jam in Bypass Road area in Chattogram. Suddenly, two robbers got into the vehicle and started beating him with a rod and one of them also stabbed him with a sharp knife.
“They took Tk 40,000 from me,” he said, adding that he did not lodge any complaint for fear of reprisal.
Another driver said one of the tyres of his truck got deflated and he got down from the vehicle on its way to Chattogram from Dhaka barely one week ago. “Suddenly, 4-5 people in police uniform caught me and looted my valuables, including cash, in Cumilla” he said.
A covered van was going to Brahmanbaria from Kalurghat in Chattogram on March 24 night.
When it reached Chairman Ghat in Sitakunda, 4-5 men got into it and took away the vehicle after beating up its driver.
Babul could identify one of the criminals as Nishan. He is wanted in 10-12 robbery and drug cases filed with different police stations, including Sitakunda.
Dabirul Haque, owner of the vehicle, said he went to file a robbery case with Sitakunda Police Station, but police recorded a theft case, stating that Babul and Nishan know each other beforehand.
Nishan took the vehicle over a previous feud and later police recovered it from a garage, said the plaintiff.