It is not a surprise that Tarequzzaman Rajib had his underworld introduction at a very young age – it is like most gangsters we have heard about.
In the beginning, Rajib was a juvenile member of his mugging gang at Mohammadpur's Tajmohol road area.
What gave him a break in his "career" was one of his local politician friend, and since then things started to change in his life. With the help of his friend, he entered politics and became "councillor" Rajib in 2015.
After that his life changed completely overnight. Whenever he came out on the streets, he did in a motorcycle convoy. Thus, local people started to feel the gradual emergence of a "new empire".
Criminal activities from extortion to land grabbing helped him gain a lot of money and power.
On Saturday night, the Rapid Action Battalion arrested Rajib, ward-33 (Mohammadpur) councillor of Dhaka North City Corporation, for his alleged involvement in extortion, terrorism and land grabbing.
Rajib was joint general secretary of Jubo League's Dhaka North City Corporation unit, but was expelled after his arrest for breaching party discipline.
Rajib's obsession for luxury cars
Rajib had a passion for luxury vehicles and he owned at least 10 cars of different world-class brands like Mercedes, BMW, Crown Prado, Land Cruiser V-8 and BMW sports car.
Sources at the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority confirmed that a few of his cars' registrations were fake. He dodged taxes for those cars.
Story of extortion
After being elected a councillor in 2015, Rajib created an extortion gang.
Collecting extortion from Mohammadpur Bus Stand, CNG stands and footpaths was the main sources of his illegal money.
Intelligence sources said Rajib used to collect extortion from those places with the help of Shah Alam, Jibon, "CNG" Kamal, Ovi Faruq, Ashiqur Rahman Rony.
The sources also confirmed that Rajib used to earn at least Tk2 crore in extortion every month.
The Business Standard obtained a copy of Rajib's extortion collection list.
Criminal activities of Rajib's cohorts
Apart from extortion, many allegations surfaced against Rajib and his associates.
Korban Ali, one of his Rajib's cohorts, was the "king" of a slum in Mohammadpur area. He controlled electricity and water pipeline connections to slum residents. He would also rent houses. Korban earned a large amount of money this way.
Rajib also amassed a big amount of money from Bashbari slum in Mohammadpur.
Azad Hossain, another associate of Rajib, used to control the Shia Mosque area. He had two companions – Halim and Momin. They were involved in extortion, land grabbing and harassing local people.
Shohag, who is also known as an active companion of Rajib, used political power to operate criminal activities in Mohammadpur's Nurjahan road and Katasur areas.
After completing BA, he was unemployed, and consequently, came in touch with Rajib. He claimed to be the assistant organising secretary of Ward 33 Jubo League unit.
Shohag used to carry Rajib on the bike during processions.
Illegal drug peddling and extortion collection from footpaths in Katasur area were under Shohag's control.
Intelligence sources also confirmed that he has been absconding since the arrest of Rajib.
Rajib's style of land grabbing
After becoming a councillor, Rajib conned those who came to his office seeking help over disputed land.
For example, Rajib grabbed a piece of land and established a building in the name of "Building Construction Workers Union."
These correspondents talked to Abu Company and Babul Islam, who claimed themselves as owners of that land.
Abu Company said he had a dispute with Babul Islam over the land, and they went to the local councillor's office for resolving the matter.
"In 2017, we went to him [Rajib], he at first offered me some money and finally grabbed the land," Abu Company added.
Babul Islam also said the same.
Another local resident Nazrul Islam said he owned a flat at the Satmasjid Housing.
"In December 2018, I was in the United States and the local councillor's associates took possession of the flat illegally. I filed a complaint with the local police station and they did nothing. Finally, I lodged a complaint with the police headquarters and the matter is still under investigation," the expatriate added.
Rajib also grabbed Wasa land at the Mohammadpur Housing Society Limited more than three years ago, which was supposed to be allocated for a pump station for the residents.
Monjurul Islam, who lives in the area, said the land belonged to a retired officer named Mahbub Alam and he was displaced from the land by Rajib on the pretext of building a pump station.
"The interesting thing is no pump was built in the area and consequently Rajib built a luxurious duplex on the land and no one knows where the landowner disappeared," he added.
Rajib also illegally grabbed a kitchen market named Mohammadaia Housing Kitchen Market and made two of his men – Mohiuddin Ahmed Khoka and Amzad Hossain – president and secretary of the market.
The legal and elected president of the market Abul Hossain told this correspondent that Rajib beat the shop owners at the market while taking control of the market.
Rajib and his gang members used to take money from a total of 250 shops in the market.