Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

Ringleader of theft gang turns millionaire

  • Special Correspondent
  • 5 February, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news

He has two multi-storey houses, including a villa, in his native village in Moulvibazar, many vehicles and other assets worth around Tk 20 crore. He was living a lavish lifestyle but did not settle for that. Driven by greed, he continued to earn more and more money.

However, Mohammad Shahed alias Sayeed, 52, amassed all these assets by virtue of theft: stealing export-oriented garment products on their way to port.

His show came to an end after elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested him along with his three associates.

Shahed was the kingpin of a gang involved in stealing export-oriented garment products on their way to port by trucks and covered vans.

On Friday night, a team of the elite force arrested four members of the racket, including Shahed, with export-oriented garment products worth Tk 100 crore.    The gang had been stealing RMG products for the last one and a half decade.

According to RAB, a consignment of garments was sent to Chattogram port by a covered van from a factory in Gazipur on October 29 last year for export to Brazil. The following day, 898 cartons of sweaters reached the port.

The buyer-designated shipping company accepted the shipment worth over US$125,000 and sent it to Brazil and the buyer paid the full amount immediately after the shipper left the port.

 However, on January 6, the garment owner was shocked to see a video received from the Brazilian buyer.

It can be seen in the video that some cartons are totally empty and huge products are missing from many others. Later, the owner had to pay a fine equal to the value of the stolen garments.

 The factory owner lodged a general diary with Gachha Police Station in Gazipur on February 2 in this regard.

Following the filing of the GD, RAB increased intelligence surveillance to unravel the mystery behind the incident.

On the basis of secret information, a RAB-4 team arrested Shahed and three of his associates from Moulvibazar, Gopalganj and Dhaka's surrounding areas on Friday night.

His other associates are Imarat Hossain Sajal, 37, Shahjahan alias Russell alias Arif, 30, and Md Hriday, 28.

RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Commander Khandaker Al Moin said this at a press conference at its Karwan Bazar Media Centre on Saturday.

Arrested Shahed was the ringleader of the racket and he used to mastermind the theft of garment products on their way to the port.

Basically, most of the thefts of garment products took place at his order or with his consent.

There were 40-50 people, including drivers and helpers of trucks and covered vans, godown owners and workers and highly skilled porters, involved in the gang.

 At the initial stage, the gang members used to develop friendship friendship with drivers and helpers of trucks and covered vans involved in the transportation of garment goods and encouraged theft with the lure of making a quick buck.

The decision about the theft was used to be taken after going through the samples of the products to be exported and the samples were sent to the ringleader by drivers.

The theft of goods exported to Brazil was also carried out at Shahed's order.

 On October 29 last, the garment goods were loaded into a covered van from Gazipur and it left for Chattogram port in the evening. At that time, the factory authorities gave some sweaters as samples to driver Shahjahan.

 Shahjahan immediately took a picture of the samples and sent it to Shahed, who forwarded it to Tawhidul alias Kawsar, the perpetrator of this theft, and ordered theft of the consignment considering the quality and market value of the products.

As per the plan, the driver and helper parked the covered van at the godown of Ayesha Packaging at Demra in the capital where porter leader Nazim was already waiting along with 5-7 labourers, including Masum alias Masud.

They removed 30-35 percent of the products from each carton before sending the shipment to the port after re-packaging.

Moin also said Shahed bought two trucks while in Chattogram and started local business in 1996. He bought four covered vans after selling the two trucks in 2004 and started transporting garment goods.

He formed the racket with the help of covered van drivers and helpers, godown owners and workers with a lure of quick buck.

Until 2018, he himself continued to carry out theft of garment products.