Extortion by local political goons and policemen from businessmen, including, real estates, garment factories, street hawkers in the capital has reached an unbearable with the Eid approaching.
According to RAB sources, 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 heaps of money.
A source in the RAB told the Daily Observer that members of these gangs are wanted in connection with several heinous crimes committed in different parts of the city. Although the law-enforcing agencies have detail information such as the names of the kingpins and their usual area of activity, the offenders from these gangs are seldom arrested and much less prosecuted because of the shelter and patronage they receive from godfathers hobnobbing with the lawmakers, ministers, political leaders, owners of industry, smugglers and other influential persons in society.
Con Ziaul Ahsan, Additional Director General (ADG) of RAB told this correspondent the criminals groups had demanded huge amounts of extortion money and threatened them with death. The battalion has arrested at least several accomplices of underworld while several have died in 'crossfire' incidents.
Many city residents of the area are still living in fear and panic. They also send bombs with packets of sweetmeats and funeral shrouds.
Based on the crimes dossier, RAB and police have prepared a list of top 300 extortionist crime syndicates-notorious for the ruthlessness and ferocity of their past. The criminals demanded extortion money for the name of Shahdat and Khorshed, Killer Abas, Bikash-Prakash, Joy, Imon, Babu and Sazada.
In most cases, such criminal gangsters target the owners of small industries, business establishments and land-developer company. Metro Homes a trader of Dhanmandi area, alleged that Shahdat and Khorshed terrorist gang demanded Tk 10,000,000 from him on June 29. "They also threatened to shoot me if I don't meet their demand."
"If you fail to give the money, you along with your family members will be killed," the mobile phone caller threatened him over phone from India. However, their local associates continue to commit various criminal activities, including extortion, in the capital in the name of their absconding underworld dons.
A 'who-is who' of the city's crime world obtained from the RAB and police shows that the criminals have spread their tentacles to most parts of the city including the commercial districts and the terminals of city and suburban transport.
It is no secret that in addition to the strength they draw from political patronage, the crime gangs also lean heavily on the cover support they receive from black sheep within the law enforcing agencies.
These groups run by private godfathers have been alarmingly spreading their networks in different fields of criminal activities showing their specialisation as well as supremacy over the personnel engaged for maintaining law and order by the state. Smuggling of any kind of drugs, realisation of extortion, killing for political and personal gains are their main functions throughout the country.
Mufti Mahmud Khan Director of the Media and Legal Wing of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) told the Daily Observer on Thursday that members of the intelligence department of the RAB are very much active to trace the criminals and arrest them.