Extortionists out to strike in top terrors’ names

Teenager’s plan to extort money from businessman falls apart

Md Esaraf Hossain

29 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Extortion from the affluent section of people, including businessmen and industrialists, in the names of absconding listed top terrorists of Dhaka as well as neighbouring India is on in the capital and on its outskirts.   

A section of criminals introducing themselves as sidekicks of listed terrorists, including Subrata Bain and Dawood Ibrahim, is reportedly demanding money from many businessmen and industrialists over phone as toll and realising those tactfully, said detectives.

Businessmen, particularly owners of export-oriented garment factories, and wealthy people and senior government officials often receive phone calls from the criminals seeking toll.

Many of them are being subjected to inhuman torture and even assassination if they fail to meet their demand.

Meanwhile, a teenage boy was held by the Detective Branch (DB) of police on Wednesday night on charges of demanding Tk 2 million as toll from a businessman of the capital after issuing a threat to him.

The underage boy tried to extort the sum from him posing as a "top Indian criminal".

He even planted a fake bomb on the businessman's car to substantiate his claim.

But his plan fell apart after detectives arrested him from Munshiganj on Wednesday night, said AKM Hafiz Akhter, additional commissioner (DB) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), at a press briefing at the DMP Media Centre on Thursday.  Police did not disclose his identity as he is still a minor.

Hafiz said the boy's father was the caretaker of the businessman's house in the latter's ancestral village in Munshiganj. The boy on January 11 made a phone call to the businessman and demanded the money, threatening to "blow away his family along with his car", the additional commissioner said.

The following day, the businessman saw a bomb-like object stuck under his car and informed police of it.

A bomb disposal unit of the DMP rushed there and found it to be an ineffective object which was destroyed later, the DB official said. During primary interrogation, the boy told detectives that he made the plan two months back and learned how to make threats over phone and craft bomb-like objects going through YouTube contents, Indian films and serials.

He learned how to speak Hindi by watching the serials as well, Hafiz said.

The teenager later made the bomb-like object and fitted it to the businessman's car when he went to Munshiganj's Louhajang recently, he said.

The DB official urged citizens to inform police whenever they receive such calls.

Two weeks ago, detectives arrested six alleged gangsters on charges of extorting money from people through issuing threats over phone posing as members of a top terror gang.

The criminals, who identified themselves as members of "Seven-Star Group", were arrested from Jatrabari, Motijheel, Paltan and Turag areas.

The arrestees are Billal Khan, Rakib Khan Titul, Abdul Hannan, Delwar Hossain, Md Sohag and Rashed Alam.

Seven-Star Group once enjoyed widespread notoriety, boasting top criminals like Subrata Bain, Mollah Masud and Murgi Milon.

Law enforcers carried out raids based on the complaint lodged by a Cox's Bazar-based businessman whom the gang called over phone and demanded Tk 5 lakh, posing as its members. He paid Tk 35,000 through mobile financial service but the gang demanded more. They threatened to kidnap and kill his family members, said Walid Hossain, who was recently promoted to the rank of additional deputy inspector general.

One group used to collect phone numbers of important persons and businessmen from different directories and books and supply those to the second group. The second group used to call the targeted persons. They used to tell them that several members of their gang are currently in jail and huge sums of money are being spent to get them released on bail.