Akul Hossain, a BCL leader from Sharsha upazila in Jessore, set up a network to sell arms imported from India. More than 50 members of the clique are active in the capital Dhaka, bordering Jessore, Satkhira and Chapainawabganj districts.
The Detective Branch (DB) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) said this at a press conference on Thursday. Police say Akul and his associates have sold more than 200 weapons in the last six years. They used to buy each weapon for 28 to 50 thousand rupees. He used to sell it for 80 to 90 thousand rupees. They used to buy arms from three Indian traders.
The DB arrested Akul, a member of the arms trade ring, and four of his associates from Dar es Salaam in the capital on Wednesday night. The arrested persons are Akul Hossain, Ilias Hossain, Abul Azim, Faruk Hossain and Fazlur Rahman. During the arrest, 7 foreign pistols, 6 bullets, 18 magazines and 1 private car were recovered from them, DB said.
Speaking at a press conference at the DMP’s media center on Minto Road in the capital, DMP Additional Commissioner AKM Hafeez Akhter said the arrests were aimed at the ringleader. He has been involved in arms trade and gold smuggling since 2014. There are eight cases against him in different police stations of Jessore including arms case.
The way to identify and arrest
The DB says they traced the ring to the weapons used in the shooting of a contractor in Dhaka’s Bahanteke and the source of some recently recovered weapons.
It is being investigated whether any group is collecting these weapons ahead of the next parliamentary elections.
AKM Hafiz Akter, Additional Commissioner, DMP
Mashiur Rahman, deputy commissioner of DB’s Gulshan division, who supervised the operation, told Prothom Alo that they received information that international arms dealers were entering Dhaka through Gabtali in private vehicles with arms and ammunition for sale. The operation was carried out on the basis of this information.
A case has been filed against the arrested persons at Darussalam police station under the Arms Control Act. DB has remanded everyone for three days for their interrogation.
DB chief KM Hafeez Akhter told reporters at a press conference that members of the gang had been trading in woodpeckers, border poles, snake venom, archeological statues, yaba and ice. He said these weapons made in India are entering the country through Benapole in the border district of Jessore. Later it is falling into the hands of terrorists from different areas including Khulna, Bagerhat and Dhaka.
Replying to a question, Hafiz Akhter said, “We are investigating whether any group is collecting these weapons ahead of the next elections.”
Awami League politics in Jessore-1 (Sharsha) constituency is divided into two parts. One faction is led by MP Sheikh Afil Uddin and the other faction is led by Benapole Municipality Mayor Ashraful Alam.
Due to the division, Sharsha Upazila and Benapole Municipal BCL have two committees each. The MP and the mayor have given two committees of their choice. Although the chairman of the two-part committee is one, the general secretary is two in the two committees. One is a follower of the mayor and the other is an MP. Akul Hossain is the general secretary of the committee given by the mayor.
When asked, Jessore district BCL president Salauddin Piyas said, ‘Two BCL committees have been approved in Sharsha upazila. Akul Hossain is the general secretary of a committee.
Police sources said Akul Hossain is a resident of Bahadur area adjacent to Benapole municipality. On June 15, 2019, police recovered three bullets, 12 magazines, a bomb, six machetes, a machete and a large quantity of weapons and drugs from his house. Although there were two cases under the Arms and Explosives Act at Benapole Police Station, the police dropped Akul’s name from the chargesheet for unknown reasons.
Officer-in-charge of Benapole Port Police Station Mamun Khan told Prothom Alo: However, Akul’s name did not appear in the charge sheet of the case. This is what happened before I came to this police station. ‘ He said there were eight cases against Akul, including murder, weapons, extortion, gold snatching, fights and assault on customs officials.