Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) have detained ten more people, including the ‘mastermind’ of the robbery incident after hijacking a Chattogram-bound bus in Tangail when a woman commuter was raped.
The detainees were identified as mastermind Ratan Hossain, 21, Md Alauddin, 24, Sohag Mondol, 20, Khandakar Md Hasmat Ali alias Dipu, 23, Md Babu Hossain alias Julhas, 21, Md Jibon, 21, Md Abdul Mannan, 22, Md Nayeem Sarkar, 19, Russell Talukdar, 32, and Md Aslam Talukdar alias Raihan.
The Rab members detained the 10 after conducting drives in Dhaka, Gazipur and Sirajganj on Sunday, Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of the Legal and Media Wing of the Rab headquarters, said while briefing reporters on Monday.
Rab also seized 20 mobile phone sets, two silver bangles, 14 SIM (subscriber identity module) cards and a sharp weapon used in robbery from their possession.
During primary interrogation, it was known that mastermind Ratan served jail for one and a half years for robbing a bus of ‘Savar Paribahan’ along with Jibon, who was a helper of a bus, in 2018. After being released from jail on bail in 2020, Ratan snatched an auto-rickshaw and again jailed for another year.
After being released on bail, he and his gang committed robberies on the highways in Savar, Gazipur or Sirajganj areas.
During the robbery in Tangail, Jibon was engaged in looting the goods of the passengers.
Legal steps will be taken against the detainees, the official added.
On August 3, the spine-chilling crime occurred in Raktipara area of Tangail's Madhupur upazila.
When the bus took the busy Dhaka-Tangail Highway in the Natiapara area, the seven robbers whiffed out guns, hijacked the vehicle, and drove it towards Madhupur upazila.
Posing as passengers, the seven boarded the bus in two groups in a span of 10 minutes around 11pm after it resumed its onward journey following a stopover at a hotel in Sirajganj district.
Twenty-four people, including 22 passengers and two staffers, were on board the bus of ‘Eagle Paribahan’ at the time.
On a desolate stretch, the armed gang robbed the twenty-four people, including 22 passengers of cash, jewellery and mobile phones.
They then blindfolded the passengers and raped the woman commuter on board.
The passengers' ordeal continued for over three hours till the seven criminals forced them to get off the bus and drove the heavy vehicle towards Raktipara's Jam-e-Mosque, where they abandoned it and fled with the booty, police said.
An FIR was lodged in connection with the robbery and rape.
On Thursday, Raza Mia, 32, was arrested from the Deula area of Tangail district town, said police. Raza is a driver of ‘Jhatika Service’ bus in Tangail and lived in a rented house in Tangail new bus terminal area.
During interrogation, Raza told cops that he was the one who drove the bus while others held the passengers and staff hostage at gunpoint, said Sarkar Md Kaisar, superintendent of Tangail Police.