Safe passage to India ensured day after controversial release
Hardcore criminal Bikash Kumar Biswas, whose sudden and secret release from jail triggered huge controversy, has been facilitated with safe passage to India, said sources in police and the ruling party.
He left the country on December 15, a day after he had been released on bail from Kashimpur jail-2. He was supposed to leave India in a couple of days, said a source having close contact with Bikash.
After his release, Bikash went straight to Mawa and headed towards Jessore crossing the river on a speedboat. He was accompanied by two Chhatra League activists. The next day, he was taken to the Jessore border on a motorbike. He entered India through a snapped barbed-wire fence, said a Chhatra League activist close to one of Bikash’s aides.
Sources said he had been released under a Tk 50 crore deal. He had also pulled some strings to ensure his release and safe passage.
The sources said police and other law enforcement agencies had been informally asked by some government high-ups not to intercept Bikash.
Sources in the ruling party said two top figures in the government — a minister and an influential leader of Awami League — were his main facilitators.
Bikash has served 15 years since 1997 in 10 cases, including those for murders and possession of illegal arms. Of the cases, five were filed with Tejgaon, four with Mirpur and one with Lalbagh police stations.
In 2009, he was released on bail in a case, but soon as the came out of the jail Gazipur police arrested him under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The same year, his confinement was declared illegal by a court, but he chose to remain in jail fearing police shootout. Since then he had been looking for a safe exit from Bangladesh.
Sources in Kashimpur prison-2 said Bikash had met an Awami League leader, now a minister, in the prison during the tenure of the last caretaker government. Both of them were kept in adjacent cells and they used to hold meetings. This helped Bikash establish a good relationship with the leader.
Bikash used the link after the leader had become a minister. Sources claimed he used to communicate with the minister over the phone quite regularly.
But the minister alone was not able to release Bikash and give him the safe passage. So Bikash had to established links with another influential Awami League leader, who although not being a minister controls the police administration from the shadows, a source close to Bikash told The Daily Star.
“He [Bikash] decided to come out of jail and leave the country after getting the green signal from the leader,” he said.
According to sources in police, intelligence agencies and Chhatra League, political reasons were behind Bikash’s release. Quelling the opposition’s anti-government movement is one of them.
The sources, however, believe that using Bikash for political benefits would be very difficult.
“Criminals like him are not loyal to anyone. They serve to only money and like to enjoy backing of powerful corridors,” said a source, who once used to be involved in underworld activities.
He said Bikash also had good links with several top leaders of BNP, including one who had been staying in the UK for several years.
“In future, if you see some high profile assassinations or disappearance of politicians like Ilias Ali and thereby a shift in opposition’s movement you should consider that the Bikash factor is working behind those,” he said.
An official of an intelligence agency who has been following Bikash case for long said Bikash had already taken control of the entire underworld network that handles illegal firearms and ammunition, and extortion in Dhaka city.
“They are now raising money for Bikash and sending it to India,” said the official, adding that a major overhaul had taken place in Dhaka’s underworld before Bikash got released.
A source in the Kashimpur Prison-2 claimed that three to four months ago top criminals imprisoned had held a secret meeting inside the jail and unanimously selected Bikash as their boss. Notorious Sweden Aslam and Killer Abbas were also present in the meeting, he added.
He said Bikash had led a lavish life in jail. He used to keep a cell phone and a laptop.
A ruling party source said they had heard that Bikash’s patrons had planned to release several other criminals from jail. But the idea had been shelved owing to media reports on fishy release of Bikash.
Jail sources said majority of the prison officials were against releasing Bikash on Friday, as it is against the norm to let a prisoner go on a holiday. But Bikash, who obtained bail late on Thursday, was released hurriedly around 8:30am on Friday upon the instructions from his influential patrons.
“As there was strong backing for Bikash, the jail authorities finally had to bow down to the pressure from the powerful quarter,” a jail official told The Daily Star seeking anonymity.
Source: The Daily Star