Family claims him innocent, arrested from hospital
Mazharul Islam Shakil, a key associate of most wanted criminal, Zeesan alias Zeesan Ahmed, was arrested from Dhaka on Saturday, claimed Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
He was arrested with two pistols, magazines and six rounds of bullets, from Mohammadpur bus stand area early morning on Saturday, said RAB.
Based on prior information, RAB put up a checkpost in the area and arrested him from a CNG run vehicle, they added.
They alleged that Shakil is a key associate of Zeesan, an Interpol listed criminal charged with murder and possession of explosives.
However, relatives of Shakil claimed the arrest was made from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) on Thursday when he was undergoing treatment there. The family also disputed possession of any arms by him.
Despite the fact that Zeesan fled to the United Arab Emirates, his criminal activities are still ongoing through associates like Shakil, said Lt Colonel Sarwar-Bin Kashem, director (legal and media wing) of RAB, briefing journalists at RAB's media centre in Kawran Bazar.
The group used to target businesspersons and rich people to extort large amounts of money from them with threats, he added.
“Shakil came to Bangladesh in January from Dubai to start up criminal activities once again following instructions from Zeesan. He got admitted to a government hospital but his plan was to conduct criminal activities,” Kashem said.
Is he a real criminal, arrested with guns?
Shakil's cousin Fahim Mahmood told Dhaka Tribune that his cousin is not a criminal and was not arrested from Mohammadpur.
“Two men in plain clothes, introducing themselves as policemen, picked him up from BSMMU on Thursday when Shakil, a cardiology patient, was undergoing treatment and took him in a microbus,” he claimed.
A general diary (GD) was lodged with Shahbagh police station in this regard, he said.
Though the hospital authority was requested to provide CCTV footage, RAB also seized the CCTV footage from the hospital, he alleged.
Lt Colonel Sarwar-Bin Kashem however refuted the allegation saying that the family of any criminal plays this blame game whenever someone from their family is arrested.
Who is Shakil?
Elite force officials claimed Shakil got involved in criminal activities in 2005 when he was a student at Jagannath University in Dhaka and later got involved in politics. In 2009, he started looking for tenders and subsequently received tenders, mostly from Bangladesh Railway and for publishing books till 2012, according to a statement sent by RAB.
Shakil went to his hometown in Feni in 2013 and opened up a store there, in addition to his involvement in local politics.
Upon his return to Dhaka in 2015, he got involved with politics again, but got in conflict with Jubo League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan because of railway related tenders.
He fled to China after his name appeared in a case filed for the murder of Rajib Hasan, deputy finance secretary of Dhaka South city unit of Jubo League in Old Dhaka.
He went to Dubai in 2018 and stayed there till January 2020, reads the RAB statement.
According to RAB, Shakil got acquainted with Zeesan there and started to work as a labour broker on behalf of Zeesan where his job was to plan criminal activities and conduct those in Bangladesh with the help of their associates.
Shakil came to Bangladesh on January 12, mainly to establish Zeesan's rule here and lead the underworld, RAB added.
Earlier in October last year, security officials in Dhaka claimed that most wanted criminal Zeesan alias Zeesan Ahmed, alias Ali Akbar Chowdhury, was arrested in Dubai and Bangladesh initiated the process of bringing him back to the country.
Various news media reported that Zeesan was released on bail. However, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal later rejected the news, terming it baseless.
Zeesan is wanted in connection with the murder of two officers of the Detective Branch (DB) of Police at a hotel in Malibagh in 2003. He fled to India in 2007, and later on ended up in Dubai. He has reportedly been controlling criminal activities in Bangladesh from the Middle East.
Zeesan is one of 23 most wanted criminals listed by the Home Ministry, and there is a bounty on his head. Bangladesh Police also issued a red alert against him.