Kutub Uddin, known as Dhaka's top real estate businessman in Satkania, Chattogram, has built four houses in Dashkin Keraniganj of Dhaka with money from drug trade.
Police, however, said Kutub is a top drug trader under the guise of his housing business.
Nurul Islam is known as a big businessman who would work as a computer operator on contract for Tk 130 daily at Teknaf port in 2001.
He left the job in 2009. Later, in a matter of14 years, he built five houses in Mohammadpur and Adabor of the capital.
According to police, Nurul is also a big drug dealer. While working as a computer operator, he got involved in the yaba trade. He launched an import-export firm merely in name in a bid to legitimise money from the yaba trade.
Police unearthed 11 bank accounts in the names of Nurul and his wife. They had transactions of Tk 130 million (Tk 13 crore) in those accounts.
Kutub Uddin has four houses in Dashkin Keraniganj. Two are nine storey buildings and one is ten storeys.
Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) sent a letter about Kutub Uddin to Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in 2019 while Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) wrote to CID about Nurul in 2021.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, CID officials said Kutub and Nurul have amassed huge assets through drug trade.
A charge sheet has been submitted against Kutub in a case filed on charges of money laundering on 11 January while a charge sheet will be given soon against Nurul in a case filed under the money laundering prevention act.
Kutub has a business firm 'M/S Rani Enterprise' at Kaptan Bazar in the capital. Receiving information of a huge money transactions in the account opened in the name of 'M/S Rani Enterprise', BFIU wrote to CID for investigation in 2019.
Carrying out investigations, CID came to know that Kutub has two houses in Keraniganj. There were transactions of Tk 310 million in Kutub's bank accounts in the last seven years. CID filed a case under the money laundering prevention act at Bangshal police station in September 2021.
Following an investigation, CID submitted a charge sheet in the court against Kutub and his associate Md Shakil on 11 January.
CID said there are three cases against Kutub filed on charges of drug trade at three police stations in the capital. Kutub has been in jail since he was arrested one and half years ago in a case. His associate is now on the run.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, CID organised crime division inspector Moniruzzaman said Kutub amassed huge assets from the drug trade. During the investigation, he was asked to show legal documents against his assets, but he failed to do so.
RAB arrested Nurul with fake notes from Adabor area in the capital on 20 September 2021. RAB wrote to CID to carry out an investigation against Nurul Islam. After carrying out an investigation for 15 months, CID found assets of Tk 130 million (Tk 13 crore) including five houses in Dhaka's Mohammadpur and Adabor. He is not coming out into public after he secured bail in a drug case.
A senior CID official said, "In reality Nurul's assets are three fold the amount we have found in the documents."
Real estate business with drug money
Kutub Uddin is a resident of Chhodaha area of Satkania upazila in Chattogram. Once, his father would work in an agriculture farm in the village.
CID investigation sources said Kutub first launched a firm named 'M/S Rani Enterprise' merely in name at Kaptan Bazar of Dhaka to conceal his drug trade. He would deposit the 'income' of this business firm in his account at a private bank at Nawabpur, Dhaka.
Later he bought a plot of land at Hasnabad of Dashkin Keraniganj, erected a building there andstarted selling apartments. He built a ten-storey house at Plot No 648 on Road No 9 and a nine-storey house at Plot No 487 on Road No 8 at Bashundhara Riverview area of Hasnabad. Besides, Tk 339 million (Tk 33 crore and 91 lakh) was found in the bank account in the name of his company.
Investigation sources said Kutub Uddin started selling yaba brought from Teknaf in 2010. Three cases have been filed under the narcotics control act with Shyampur, Khilgaon and Airport police stations between 2013 and 2016. The narcotics control department filed two cases. Another case was filed by RAB.
While visiting Hasanabad area on Friday, it is learnt that Kutub owns two more houses. He has another 9-storey house at Road No 4, Block-A at Bashundhara Riverview. Speaking to Prothom Alo, the guard of that house, Ameer Hossain, said, "Many apartments of the house remain unsold. After the arrest of Roni Sir, no apartment was sold."
Kutub Uddin has another house at Khamarbari Road in Hasanabad. He owns the four-storey under construction house at Plot No 703. The gate of the house was locked yesterday afternoon. Security guard to an adjacent house, Dulal Mia said the construction of the house was halted for about an year. The house is owned by Roni (Kutub Uddin) chairman.
Kutub Uddin was defeated in huge margin in the contest of chairman post at Chhodaha union parishad election of Chhodaha in 2016. However, he is known as 'Roni chairman'.
Prothom Alo Satkania correspondent said Kutub Uddin studied at an Alia madrasah in Satkania. Later he would stay in Chattogram and Dhaka. Locals said they would know Kutub Uddin would visit Malaysia for business purpose at times. There was news in the locality that Kutub has business establishment at Nawabpur of Dhaka. However, currently locals know Kutub is involved in drug business. In the locality it is said that Kutub spent Tk 4.5 million (45 lakh) in the union parishad election.
Kutub Uddin's family lives on the ninth floor of a house at Plot No 487, Road No 8, Block-A at Bashundhara Riverview area.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, security guard of the house, Md Shahid, said apartments of the house except one have been sold. This correspondent wanted to talk to Kutub Uddin's family, but they declined .
While visiting Kaptan Bazar of Dhaka on Thursday, this correspondent did not find any firm named 'M/S Rani Enterprise' there. Several traders there said there was no firm in that name. However, there was a shop in this name at 3rd floor of MS Electronic market in Nawabpur of Dhaka.
Nawabpur MS Electronics market shop owners association president Kamal Hossain said the shop was closed down three to four years ago. He could not tell what was traded in that shop
Nurul's five houses in Dhaka
Nurul Islam is a resident from Kanainagar area of Bhola sadar upazila. He couldn't study due to poverty. He joined a job at daily basis at Teknaf land port in 2009.
CID sources said he got involved in yaba trade alongside the job. He launched three firms merely in name to legalise money from yaba trade. The firms are: M/S Al Nahin Enterprise, Miftahul Enterprise and Alfah Enterprise. In the name of export-import business, they opened these firms to legitimise the money.
CID officials said evidence of 11 accounts at different banks Mohammadpur, Shyamoli and Teknaf in the name of Nurul Islam, his wife and his organisations has been found.
An account was opened in name of M/S Al Nahian Enterprise at a private bank of Shyamoli branch in 2017.
A total of Tk 780 million (7 crore and 78 lakh) were deposited in the account till 2021. Majority of portion was drawn from the bank. Currently there is Tk 10.5 million (Tk one crore and five lakh).
CID officials concerned said Nurul and Razia couple has bought land in Mohammadpur and Adabor with money from drug trade and built five houses in last ten years. They have two houses at Block-D, Road No 4 at Dhaka Udyan in Mohammadpur House No 35 and 66). They also own House No 10 at Block-B, Road No 7, Chandrima Model Town in the same area.
Nurul has another house at No 68/70, Road No 8 at Adabor Nabinagar Housing. He has another house No 8, Road No 3 at Nobodao Housing Society at Mohammadpur. He along with his family lives in this 7-storey building.
CID said there are two plots in Nurul's wife Razia's name at Ramchandrapur Mouza in Mohammadpur and 53 decimals land at Aminbazar of Savar. Besides, there is 23 decimals of land in the name of Razia at Teknaf.
Prothom Alo tries to talk to Nurul Amin about his properties. However, his mobile phone was found to be switched off. This correspondent talked to his wife Razia Sultana on Thursday.
She said, "We have amassed properties from doing business. We are not involved in yaba trade. We are paying tax regularly."
About filing case on charges of drug trade and fake notes against her husband, Razia said, "That was a fabricated case."
However, CID said Nurul left job in 2009 to legalise the illegal assets.
CID inspector Md Moniruzzaman said, "Nurul and his wife could not show legal documents against their properties. We have come to know that they own these properties through drug trade."
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.