He was once a ruthless killer, who managed to escape into obscurity by masquerading as a Baul artist. But a music video he was featured in turned out to be his reckoning.
Helal Hossain gained infamy in north Bengal after murdering at least three people, in a reign of terror which began in the late 90s and went on to the 2000s. To dodge the law, he adopted the persona of Baul Selim Fakir and for 20 years it served him well.
When a video of his performance went viral on social media, the truth behind the man was finally uncovered.
A team of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Helal from Bhairab Railway Station on Wednesday (12 January).
In a press briefing on Thursday (13 January), RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Commander Khandaker Al Moin said the convict was identified through a viral music video of "Bhanga Tori Chera Pal" by singer Paulash.
RAB was tipped off about six months ago about Helal when a person claimed that the model of the song posted on YouTube was accused in a murder case in Bagura in 2001.
Helal featured in the song released in 2016 as a Baul artist. The video reportedly gained nearly 45 million views on YouTube and went viral on social media.
The video even earned praises from viewers and Helal was lauded for his performance. At the time though, nobody knew that the man behind the soothing performance was a killer.
A Bagura court had sentenced him to life in prison for murdering Mahmudul Hasan Bidyut of Bagura in 2001.
Helal was also named as one of the key accused in at least two other murder cases. He was finally arrested in 2015 in a theft case filed with Bagura Sadar Police Station in 2010.
He got out on bail in 2015, the same year the verdict for the Bidyut murder case was delivered. Helal, however, managed to dodge law enforcers.
Mahmudul Hasan Bidyut, 20, of Bagura Sadar was brutally hacked to death in a case where Helal was named as an accused.
Helal was also accused in the Bishnu murder case in Bagura in 1997. Following the killing, he reportedly became infamous in the area for his brutality.
In 2006, Helal was also named in charge sheet as one of the prime accused in the Rabiul murder case.
The man who embraced the songs and rhythms will now face the music for the murders he committed.