An individual who knows Helal and about his murder conviction tipped RAB, who apprehended Helal from Kishoreganj’s Bhairab Railway Station on Wednesday night.
The 45-year-old is accused in three murder cases and one count of theft. He had previously been convicted of theft as well, said Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of RAB’s media wing, on Thursday.
In 2015, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in a 2001 murder case after being out on bail in the case over theft. “He subsequently went into hiding and grew his hair and beard long to conceal his identity, going by the name of Baul Selim,” said Moin.
According to the RAB official, Helal had received his first modelling proposal about five years ago after being spotted singing a Baul song during a music video shoot of singer Kishore Polash at Narayanganj Railway Station.
He then featured on the “Bhanga Tori Chhera Pal” music video and became popular as Baul Selim Fakir.
Moin said a person phoned up RAB six months ago and said the the man seen on the music video was a possible accused in the 2001 murder of Bogura’s Mahmudul Hasan Bidyut. “We then checked the information and arrested Helal.”
He was also accused in the 1997 Bishnu murder case in Bogura and the 2006 killing of Robiul.
Helal was a grocery shopkeeper until eighth grade before he started singing Baul songs at railway stations for a living. However, eventually he got involved in crimes.
In a deadly clash between rival groups in Bogura in 2000, Helal severely injured his left arm and lost the ability to move it, which earned him the nickname “Haat Lula”. He was also known as “Terrifying Helal” following the incident.
In 2015, he was arrested in a 2010 theft case but secured bail the same year. He then went into hiding again after the verdict on Bidyut murder case was given.
Helal used to stay in shrines or railway stations in disguise while in hiding.
“Initially, he arrived at Dhaka’s Kamalapur Railway Station from Bogura. Later he travelled to Chattogram and remained at Amanat Shah shrine for several days in disguise. From there he went to Sylhet to spend some days at Shahjalal’s shrine,” Moin said.
“He took on the name Selim Fakir at Kishoreganh’s Bhairab Railway Station concealing his real name, address and identity. He lived the life of a vagabond for almost seven years, which included a four-year family spell with a woman beside the Bhairab Railway Station.”