Millions of taka laundered, innocents trapped thru LCs

Didarul Alam and Shahidul Alam

By tricking innocent people, a section of frauds have opened letters of credit (LCs) and imported commodities in the names of non-existent companies by evading duty.

Customs Intelligence & Investigation Directorate (CIID) officials said a fraud gang has opened letters of credit (LCs) in several banks in the capital.

Making false declaration of capital machineries for poultry feed, they imported commercial items in the names of non-existent companies, evading duty.

The items imported from China include milk powder, liquor, cigarettes and LED televisions.

In connection with these incidents, Motaleb has been sued in money laundering cases.

Motaleb would negotiate in purchasing land and he mediated in several land purchase deals for Didarul Alam who is a managing director of a real estate company.

In sequel to this, Motaleb sought a job from Didarul. Assuring him of a job, Didarul took his NID and two copies of passport size photos from Motaleb.

Later, with the assistance of elder brother Shahidul Alam, Didarul opened LCs in several banks by pasting photo of Motaleb on another's identity card and taking signature. After a few days, Motaleb came to know that he is sued in 17 money laundering cases.

Didarul and Shahidul trapped three more persons in this way. Other victims are Abdul Barik Mia, Md Kabir Hossain and Billal Hossain Khan. They have been sued in cases worth about Tk 15 billion.

In the meanwhile, Didarul and Shahidul have amassed huge wealth. Their issues of cheating and money laundering have been detected by the investigation of CIID).

A total of 30 cases have been filed against two brothers under different acts including money laundering in Dhaka and Chattogram. CIID are the plaintiff in those cases.

However, the victims have not been acquitted of these. They are going door to door of different agencies to get rid of the cases. They are attending court regularly.

CIID deputy director Md Shakil Khandaker said to Prothom Alo, "The Didaruls have trapped four innocent people and this has been detected in their investigation."

Trapped after seeking jobs

Motaleb lives at Patira of Khilkhet police station in the capital. He recently described to Prothom Alo how was been cheated.

Motaleb said he would negotiate in purchasing land. He assisted Diudarul in purchasing land at different times. In sequel to this, he would go to Didarul's office Mirror Development Limited at Bijoynagar. He developed a good relationship with Didarul. In 2016, he told Didarul that his children are growing up. "During their marriage, I don't want people call me middleman. So I want a job," Didar added.

Motaleb said Didarul at the time took his NID, photo and a certificate from chairman and said he would establish a cattle feed factory at Chargolgolia of Keraniganj. "Didarul promised to make me manager there," he said.

"I have to open a bank account for my job," Motaleb quoted Didarul as saying. "Later, Didarul sent me with his elder brother Shahidul to open a bank account at a private bank at Naya Paltan," Didarul added.

Shahidul resorted to forgery to open a bank account. The photo of Motaleb was pasted on the ID of a person named Khorshed Alam and tactfully took signature by Motaleb in the name of Khorshed. As a result, Motaleb becomes Khorshed in the documents of banks. This Khorshed is a staff of Didarul's office.

According to Motaleb, Didarul would import commodities from abroad by opening LCs in his name against the current account. He did not know what type of items Didarul would import. When wishing to see items imported from abroad, Didarul said those are in the factories in Keraniganj. Didarul would also said the factory would be launched after arrival of engineers from abroad, the imported items would be shown then. At one stage, CIID called Motaleb. He was informed about 17 cases filed under the money laundering act against him.

Motaleb said he was stunned after hearing of the cases. He came to know about the cheating by Didarul. At one stage he was arrested and sent to jail. Getting release on bail after several months, he disclosed everything to CIID officials. He was going door to door to get rid of false cases and attending court. He has become impoverished.

Motaleb said he has handed over Tk 100 million to 120 million for purchasing land of Didarul. But he could never imagine that Didarul was such a big cheater. Making him owner of Henan Anhui Company, Didarul opened seven LCs at a branch of a private bank at Naya Paltan. In the similar fashion, making him owner of M/S Agro BD and JP, 10 more LCs are opened at different banks. Now he came to know from CIID officials about the cheating.

Trapped for helping out

Billal is a resident from Nandalalpur of Fatulla police station in Naryanganj. He was known to Shahidul. Bilal said, one day Shahidul took him to a bank and sought help in opening a LC. Shahidul said he would transfer in his name later.

Billal said Shaidul introduced him (Billal) as Shuruj Mia to the bank official. Then Billal said he is not Shuruj Mia. At first he was not willing to put signature in the LC form. Later he opened LC under Shahidul's pressure. Out of his knowledge, consignment of commodities arrived one after another. He was made accused in 14 cases under the money laundering act.

How they duped people

Kabir of Naria upazila in Shariatpur came to Dhaka in 2008 after passing secondary exams. He got acquainted with Didarul when learning computer typing in Dhaka. At one point he got a job at Didarul’s Mirror Development.

Kabir said he would sometimes deposit money in the bank at the behest of Didarul. He doesn’t know how he was accused in a case for laundering Tk 80 million. He was in jail in this case and got released later. He has spent all his savings to get rid of the case.  

Huge fortune through forgery

Customs Intelligence Investigation Directorate (CIID) officials said Shahidul and Didarul are from Munshiganj’s Shreepur. They used to work at two non-government organisations. Didarul opened a real estate company named Mirror Development at Bijaynagar in city in 2008. They were involved with various forgeries using the real estate company. They would open LCs by duping impoverished people. The two brothers would launder money in name of import. They amassed huge wealth within a short time by such wrongdoing.

The office of Mirror Development in Bijaynagar’s Mahtab Center was found under lock and key during a recent visit. Manager of the building Sardar Md Mostaim Billah told Prothom Alo, “This office has been closed for a long time. I don’t know if they have office elsewhere.”

Tk 13.96 billion laundered

CIID officials said Shahidul and Didarul would import goods by making false declarations through fake LC under non-existent companies named Agro BD and JP, Henan Anhui Agro, Hebra Branko and China BDL. These companies laundered Tk 13.96 billion through false declaration in a total of 29 challans. Of the amount, Henan Anhui laundered Tk 4.39 billion, Agro BD and JP Tk 4.32 billion, Hebra Branko Tk 2.91 billion and China BDL Tk 2.34 billion.

Shakil Khandaker, deputy director of CIID said they seized many documents from Mirror Development office. It has been revealed in investigation that Didarul gang has incriminated four innocent persons.

He said they would consider how these innocent persons can get out the cases.


30 cases against two brothers

The directorate has filed 30 cases including of money laundering against Didarul and Shahidul.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) are jointly investigating 29 cases while CID, ACC and CIID are jointly investigating a money laundering case.

Shahidul was arrested by immigration police from Shahjalal International Airport on 14 August while fleeing to Italy with his family. He is now is jail.

Didarul remained at large although law enforcers had been searching him frantically. Finally on 19 September, Didarul was detained for beating a jail guard while visiting Shahidul at central jail in Keraniganj. He, however, was released on bail.

Unloading goods through forgery

Intelligence officials said a total of 90 containers were imported in the name of Agro BD and JP and Henan Anhui through false declaration since 2008. The gang could unload 78 containers and 12 got caught.

Hebra Branko and China BDL imported 56 containers and unloaded all successfully. In total, the gang imported 134 containers evading tax.

Intelligence officials said the gang has evaded tax worth millions making fool of whole export-import system. There was no opportunity to online verification LC or other necessary documents before 2015-16. The gang had taken advantage of that.

Customs intelligence officials said N Enterprise imported cigeratte worth Tk 15 million, liquor and LED tv worth Tk 350 million in two phases in 2017 and 2018 by false declaration of importing capital machinery of poultry feed.  

Didarul’s cell phone was found switched off when contacted for his comment regarding the allegation.

Wealth of Didarul and family members

The investigators said Didarul amassed huge wealth in the names of his wife and two daughters.

CIID officials said some documents of immoveable properties of Didarul were seized during raid in Didarul’s office. It is suspected that Didarul might have more property.

According to CIID intelligence officials, Didarul has a total of 19 bigha land in Dhaka’s Khilket and South Keraniganj and Mymensingh’s Bhaluka. He also has 9 flats worth Tk 130 million in Dhaka and Chattogram. His wife has a seven-storey building worth around Tk 150 million. Didarul’s wife and two daughters have seven  bigha land in Dhaka, Keraniganj and Mymensingh.

CIID official Shakil Khandakar said letters have been sent to NBR’s intelligence cell, ACC and CID police to investigate the wealth of Didarul, his wife and two daughters.