Ratan Hossain, 21, the mastermind behind the robbery and rape on a moving bus in Tangail, is a bus helper by profession and he has been involved in robbery for the last five years, said the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
He was involved in at least 10 robberies in the last six months, said RAB officials on Monday at a press briefing at RAB's media centre in the capital.
Khandoker Al Moin, director of RAB's media wing said, seven of the arrested were garment employees and the rest were bus helpers and they were robbing while posing as regular workers.
"Ratan was arrested twice in connection with a Paribahan transport robbery in 2018 and an autorickshaw robbery in 2020. He was in jail for almost two and a half years in these incidents. He came out on bail nine months ago. And the group planned the robbery just three days before the incident in Tangail," said Khandoker Al Moin.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has arrested 10 people in connection with the case filed over robbery and gang-rape on a moving bus in Tangail.
RAB nabbed the accused, including the mastermind of the robbery, Ratan Hossain, after conducting raids in Dhaka, Gazipur and Sirajganj, said Moin.
The other arrestees are Md Alauddin, 24; Md Sohag Mandal, 20; Khandkar Md Hasmat Ali Dipu, 23; Md Babu Hossain Julhas, 21; Md Jiban, 21; Md Abdul Mannan, 22; Md Naeem Sarkar, 19; Rasel Talukder, 32; and Md Aslam Talukder Raihan, 18.
During the raids, 20 mobiles, 2 silver bangles, 14 SIM cards, and one sharp weapon used in robbery were recovered.
RAB officials said that after Ratan plans any robbery, the rest of the gang members gather at one place, commit the robbery and then again go into hiding.
Moin said that one female passenger complained of being raped, but the arrestees told RAB that they sexually assaulted several female passengers inside the Tangail bus.
In response to a question, he said that the investigators will look into whether the woman passenger was raped.
According to RAB, 13 members of this gang participated in the Tangail bus robbery. Three of them have already been arrested by the district police.
According to RAB, on 2 August, a moving bus of Eagle Express Paribahan from Kushtia to Narayanganj was robbed and a woman on board was raped while the bus was crossing Tangail. Following the incident, a passenger filed a case against 10/12 unknown persons in Madhupur police station. The incident was widely criticised in the media and social media.
Preliminary investigation revealed that Ratan had planned the bus robbery and briefed Raja Mia, who informed the other accomplices and formed a group for the robbery.
On Thursday (4 August), police arrested Raja Mia from Tangail. Based on the information he provided during interrogation, police conducted raids in Gazipur and nabbed two more suspects.
A total of 13 robbers led by Ratan took part in the robbery. Ratan bore the financial expenses of all the preparations for the robbery.
The members of the gang were divided into small groups. Ratan collected four knives, two sharp scissors and one razor, which were used in the robbery, from a shop at Elenga Mor, Tangail on the night of 2 August.
"On a desolate stretch, the armed gang robbed the commuters of cash, jewellery and mobile phones. The robbers blindfolded the passengers and raped a woman on board the bus," added the RAB official.