A Bangladeshi expatriate, responsible for abducting over a hundred fellow countrymen in Iran for ransom in the last six years, has finally landed in Bangladesh jail.
Deported by the Iranian authorities, Nannu Mia, ringleader of an Iran-based kidnappers' gang, was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department on Monday night immediately after he disembarked at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Nannu, who is from Sylhet, had been living in Iran with his family for around 35 years.
He ran a "camp" in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas where his men held captive Bangladeshi migrants working in the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and other Middle Eastern countries, said CID officials.
The CID had been in touch with the Iranian police and the Interpol for updates on his activities.
Iranian police arrested 50-year-old Nannu at the end of 2013, acting on CID's information about his involvement in abducting, trafficking and torturing migrant workers for ransom.
Following initiatives by the Bangladesh embassy in Tehran, the Iranian authorities deported him on Monday, CID Special Superintendent Mirza Abdullahel Baqui told journalists at the agency's headquarters yesterday.
As part of its effort to bust the gang, a CID team visited Iran and the UAE in May last year. They gathered information on Nannu, and gave it to the Iranian police.
Nannu and his cohorts resorted to brutal means to compel the victims' family members to pay ransom. They confined the abductees, tied them up and beat them mercilessly.
Then they forced the victims to talk to their families back home over the phone and pay ransoms ranging from Tk 4-6 lakh.
Nannu and his gang abducted more than 100 Bangladeshi migrant workers, and took ransoms from the victims' families through their cohorts in Bangladesh using bKash and other methods for transferring money, said CID Additional Superintendent Raihan Uddin Khan.
Several cases were filed with Bangladesh police against Nannu and his gang members for kidnapping and torturing migrant workers for ransom.
Hearing about Nannu's arrest, one of his victims, Ruhul Amin, felt elated and said, "Alhamdulillah … This is good news".
"Nannu and his accomplices kept me confined along with many other Bangladeshis, and tortured us in Iran in 2013," said Ruhul, who returned home after paying the gang a ransom of Tk 5 lakh.
Organised gangs of kidnappers came to the attention of police in September 2013 when the brother of migrant worker Rafiqul Islam, abducted along with 29 fellow migrants in Iran in July that year, informed the law enforcement agencies about it.
The CID identified at least 10 gangs in Iran, and arrested their 14 members in Bangladesh in 2013.
"We have submitted charge sheets against 160 traffickers in 14 cases between 2013 and 2014," CID Special Superintendent Baqui told journalists.
Many such gangs are still active in Middle Eastern countries. They promise migrant workers jobs in Italy and Greece, and then kidnap them and force their families back home to pay ransom.
Their local members collect ransoms from the victims' families through bKash and other mobile money transfer systems, courier services and also bank accounts.
Last year, the CID arrested two bKash agents for their links with such gangs.
Talking to this correspondent, CID Additional Deputy Inspector General Shah Alam said these gangs use sea routes for transporting abducted workers to avoid getting detected.
"Our Bangladesh mission in Tehran informed us that around 2,000 migrants were trafficked and tortured by kidnappers," he said.
In many cases, these gangs didn't release the victims even after getting ransoms. The kidnappers fear that if freed, the victims might expose them.
"Once a gang receives ransom, it sells the victim to another group," said the CID official.
Quoting some rescued migrant workers, he said the camps, where the victims were held captive, were highly secured, making it almost impossible for them to escape.