Anwar Hossain, one of the two suspected New JMB militants said to have been arrested on Friday from Dhaka, was in fact picked up by Detective Branch (DB) members from Savar in late July, his family and police say.
Anwar's family filed a general diary with Savar model police the day after he was taken away from his garage.
Sub-Inspector Rafiqul Islam, who investigated the complaint, confirmed the family that Anwar had been picked up by DB members.
On Saturday, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit announced arresting two suspected members of New JMB from Nikunja in Khilkhet on Friday night with 30 detonators.
CTTC claimed the arrestees – Anwar and Nayeem Ahmed alias Anas alias Abu Hamza – were planning to carry out a car bomb attack.
The Dhaka Tribune attempted, on multiple occasions, to reach out to DB Joint Commissioner Abdul Baten and CTTC Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam over phone to get their comment on the matter. Neither of them answered the calls.
Sub-Inspector Rafiqul said he had learned that Anwar was in DB custody long before the announcement. He had advised Anwar's family to go to the DB office.
He had traced Anwar's phone to 23, Shaheed Captain Mansur Arli Sarani, Ward 38, Moghbazar in Dhaka. The DB office is situated at Minto Road, which is under old ward 38 and is now marked as Ward 19 under Dhaka South City Corporation.
Locals and family members said Anwar had been working at his car garage Anwar Workshop at Hemayetpur's Jadurchar for over 10 years. His younger brother Rejaul Kabir also works with him.
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Anwar was very friendly, locals said, adding that they could not believe that he was involved in militancy.
Police on Saturday claimed that Anwar had gotten involved with New JMB in 2015 after getting in touch with a JMB leader and had links with JMB militant Sarowar Jahan, Ripon, Noman, Al Bani and Don.
They claimed that Anwar had arranged a car bomb attack training at his garage at the advice of a Shura member of New JMB.
In their complaint on August 1, Anwar's family said he was working at his workshop on July 31 when several people, identifying themselves as DB men, took him with them to repair a car around 8:30pm.
His phone has since been found switched off.
His elder brother Ali Hossain said Anwar had been working as a mechanic since he was 12 after he could not continue his studies for financial reasons. He opened his own garage about 10 years ago.
Ali claimed his brother had no links with militants.
“Our mother had a cardiac arrest after Anwar went missing. She died four days ago,” he said on Sunday. “We came to know about CTTC's claim through news reports.”