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Mohammedan Sporting Club used to bribe police and powerful political leaders to run its casino business.

Club documents suggest that it had a daily expenditure of Tk 500,000 in ‘business promotion’ costs.

The police and the political leaders were the beneficiaries of these ‘donations’, according to some of the club employees and two gamblers.

The daily expense sheets of the club obtained by Prothom Alo substantiate the authenticity of these financial transactions with police and political leaders.

There are separate columns for the police on the expenditure sheets, but details of the recipients' names and addresses were not recorded.

Salauddin and Sajal were the only names in the document for the ‘donations’ to the police.

The Motijheel zone deputy commissioner of police Anwar Hossain on Monday told Prothom Alo that he knew nothing about the police’s financial transactions with the club.

“I’ll look into the matter,” he said.

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Earlier on 21 September, Motijheel police officer-in-charge Mohammad Omar Farukh also told Prothom Alo that he had no knowledge about the casino business in the club, though earlier on 10 July last year he wrote a letter to the club authorities about the casino business.

The letter read, “Games like casino are being operated at the Mohammedan Club. The authorities are requested to submit legal documents against the casino business for the sake of investigation.”

On 22 September, the police raided four ‘recreational’ clubs - Mohammedan Sporting Club, Victoria Sporting Club, Arambagh and Dilkusha clubs in the capital, and seized a large number of gambling devices.

Days ago on 18 September, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) conducted raids on Fakirapool Young Men’s Club, Wanderer’s Club and Banani Golden Dhaka Club for running casinos clandestinely.

According to the expenditure sheets, the Mohammedan Club had an income of Tk 5.14 million in a single day on 31 January this year whereas its expenditure was Tk 3.566 million.

The club authorities profit Tk 1.578 million after paying the ‘donations’.

The papers show one of the expenditure goes to the ‘media’, referring to certain journalists. As much as Tk 8,500 was shown given for the media purposes.

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In the name of ‘business promotion,’ the documents also read, the club donated Tk 81,000 to the police.

Apart from the Mohammedan Club, five clubs -- Young Men’s Club and Wanderer’s Club, Victoria Sporting Club, Arambagh and Dilkusha clubs in the Motijheel area -- had an average income of Tk 5 million a day.

Each of the club profits between Tk 1.5 and 2 million a day, it was learnt while talking to the some of the officials of the clubs.

They also hinted that Tk 500,000 on average went to the pockets of the police and powerful political leaders.

As per the accounts, police and political big shots used to get Tk 3 million a day from the six clubs in the northern part of the capital alone.

Besides, following the RAB raids on the Young Men’s Club and Wanderer’s Club, the authorities of the Mohammedan, Victoria, Arambagh and Dilkusha clubs locked up their offices.

Amid police protection, the authorities removed computers and hard discs from the Arambagh and Dilkusha clubs.

On anonymity an official said club officials took away some important items from the clubs in front of the police.

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Motijheel zone’s additional deputy commissioner Shibli Noman told Prothom Alo that no computers or closed-circuit television (CCTV) hard discs were found at the clubs.

The court is informed about the seized assets through general diaries.

Political Influence
Mohammedan Club director Sarwar Hossain said the authorities had to permit casino business under political pressure.

Over the phone, he also said, a certain Abul Kashem used to run the casino business at the club.

“The club has nothing to do with the casino business. Kashem was backed by a certain powerful Jubo League leader,” he said.

Club officials said Kashem was a contractor by profession. He used to live in Shantinagar.

Kashem along with seven Nepalese men started the casino business there, the officials added.

Commenting on the casino business, lawyer Shahdeen Malik said these transactions for the casino business were a kind of bribe. The whole matter should be investigated independently and neutrally.

*The report, published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam.

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