The acting chief of Ansarullah Bangla Team and his two cohorts were arrested yesterday morning by Rapid Action Battalion. RAB sources said they were planning to flee abroad.
The arrestees are acting chief Abul Bashar – the younger brother of Ansarullah chief Jasim Uddin Rahmani – and the outfit’s media wing members Julhas Biswas and Jafran Hossain.
RAB 3 Operation Officer ASP Yeasin Arafat told the Dhaka Tribune that in their investigation RAB learned the arrestees had planned to flee abroad and gathered at Fakirapul for this purpose.
The three members of the radical Islamist outfit were picked up by a RAB 3 team, led by Deputy Director Kamran Kabir Uddin, from the area around 5am yesterday.
They confessed that Ramjan and Nayeem took part in the Abhijit and Ananta Bijoy murders. Ramjan was in the lead there and Nayeem was his associate. Ramjan also worked as an activist collector around the country in different disguises.
A RAB official said attempts to arrest the duo were ongoing.
RAB handed over the three men to the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday afternoon.
Deputy Commissioner of DB (South) Masruk Khaled confirmed this and said they will be produced before the court today on a 10-day remand plea.
The three Ansarullah members, who had been arrested last month by a RAB 3 team, in their confession acknowledged their involvement and spoke up about Bashar, Julhas, Jafran, Ramjan alias Siam, and Nayeem.
On August 18, RAB arrested Touhidur Rahman, Sadek Ali Mithu, and Aminul Mallik.
With Ansarullah chief Jasim Uddin Rahmani behind bars since 2013, IT expert Touhidur had been handling the finances of the militant group along with masterminding all the killings committed by its members.
The two other arrestees were 28-year-old Sadek Ali Mithu, who RAB accused of being involved in murdering both bloggers, and 35-year-old Aminul Mallik, who reportedly helped members of the outfit flee the country by making them fake passports.
All three in court claimed they were arrested three months ago as RAB had shown. But the Criminal Investigation Department of police showed Touhidur and Aminul Mallik involved in the Ananta Bijoy murder case.
Special Superintendent of police Abdullahel Baqui, spokesperson of CID, said they pleaded for remand for the two. Whether they could get the two under their remand or not will be known on September 17 at the next hearing day.
He said as they were arrested by a government law enforcement agency, they must have some information about it. After taking them under remand, it can be ascertained if they were involved in the cases.
On February 26, writer-blogger Avijit Roy was killed by the five Ansarullah members. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya survived the attack, but was seriously injured.
On May 12, two months after Avijit’s murder, assailants hacked to death secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das in Sylhet. According to RAB, the two murders were done by the same Ansarullah team.