Terrorist Shahdat-Khorshed group is now cashing in on city polls for extorting money from businesspeople in greater Mirpur, Shah Ali Bagh and Kafrul areas in the capital, where the group has established their dominance, according to RAB intelligence findings.
In a silent operation under the nose of police, this underworld group has already started compiling databases and profiles of their victims.
"Businesspeople and residents of greater Mirpur, Shah Ali Bagh and Kafrul areas are in panic, as the terror group took over the areas," a top official of the Rapid Action Battalion told the Daily Observer.
The local people are also worried about the tense situation centring the city corporation elections, now only two days away, the official also said, preferring anonymity.
Shahdat is said to be a former leader of Chhatra League in Mirpur Bangla College till 2001. He has at least 18 cases against him, including 11 for murder, while Khorshed faces 14 cases, five of which for murder. Information is there that Shahdat's group has more than 180 members closely involved in each and every operations carried out. Most members of the Shahdat- Khorshed group are monthly paid. However, majority of the group members are only informers.
Criminal gang leader Jahurul Islam Sumon made a list of the most influential businesspeople of the three areas mentioned above, with mobile phone numbers and individual profiles.
Such a list has already been sent to Shahdat-Khorshed group by Sumon, also a councillor aspirant for Ward No. 14 of Dhaka North City Corporation. This candidate claimed himself to be an Awami League supporter. Sumon used this ruling party banner and he has closed ties with some vested police officials of Mirpur, Shah Ali Bagh and Kafrul police stations.
The Shahdat-Khorshed group continues demanding a huge amount of money from businessmen as extortion and threatened them with death, several businessmen alleged. The extortionists also send bombs with sweet packet and funnel cloths.
Businessmen, particularly owners of export-oriented garment factories, wealthy people, senior government officials and owners of other big businesses often receive phone calls from criminals for money.
RAB has so far arrested at least 70 accomplices of Shahdat, while eight have been killed in 'crossfire.'
Khorshed was the second in command of Shahdat group, reveal intelligence and mafia sources.
Such criminal gangsters target owners of small industries, business establishments and realtors. Abdul Kamal, a trader of Mirpur area, alleged that Shahdat-Khorshed gang demanded Tk 200,000 from him on April 23. "They also threatened to shoot me if I don't meet their demand," he said.
"If you fail to give the money, you along with your family members will be killed," the cell phone call threatened. However, their local associates continue to commit various criminal activities, including extortion, in the capital in the name of their runaway underworld dons.
Garment trader Sharif Hosain of Kafrul area alleged that an Indian mobile caller introducing him notorious criminal Shahadat recently demanded Tk 200,000 from him. "If you want to run your business properly, get the money ready or else face dire consequences," Shahadat threatened Sharif.
Mufti Mahmud Khan, RAB's Director for Media and Legal Wing, said their intelligence is very much active to trace the criminals to nab them.