Gold missing from customs warehouse: Police struggle to find evidence

A consignment of seized gold
UNB file photo

Although the police have launched investigation to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of 55 kg gold bars from the customs' locker inside the Dhaka airport, it will be very difficult to identify the real perpetrators as there was no CCTV cameras inside or around the area, UNB reports.

Sources at the airport said, although the entire area inside the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) is under CCTV coverage, there was no such cameras inside the warehouse. The investigators have found only one CCTV camera, which too was out of service. Therefore, it is difficult to identify the people involved in the incident.

A senior official relevant to the investigation told the news agency that the entire airport area is under constant CCTV surveillance. Besides, several government agencies, including the Civil Aviation Authority, law enforcements and other intelligence agencies, constantly monitor the entire area.

Therefore, the incident within the customs warehouse amid such tight security and the fact that there was no CCTV camera, have sparked questions.

Sources at the Dhaka Customs House said the incident of gold stealing came to the attention of the Dhaka Customs Department last Saturday. However, it came to light widely the following day, Sunday.

While checking the inventory, the Dhaka Customs House found that some 55 kg of gold was missing from the airport’s warehouse.

According to another source of Dhaka Customs House, there was more than 200 kg of gold in the warehouse. The Dhaka Customs House has formed a five-member committee headed by its Joint Commissioner (customs) Minhaj Uddin to investigate the matter.

Besides, Mohammad Sohrab Hossain, assistant revenue officer of Dhaka Customs House, filed a case with the airport police station accusing unidentified people on Sunday night.

According to the First Information Report (FIR), it was mentioned that someone or somebody took away the 55 kgs gold some times between 12:15 pm on Saturday night and 8:30 am the next day on Sunday breaking the locker inside the warehouse.

According to the customs department, the value of this stolen gold is around Tk 450 million.

According to the information mentioned in the FIR of the case, the senior officials of the customs department ordered the officer-in-charge of the warehouse to check whether anything was missing from the warehouse.

Following that, they later found that more than 55 kg of gold, seized between 2020 and 2023, was stolen.

Contacted, deputy commissioner (DC) Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s (DMP) Uttara division, Morshed Alam said the police have already initiated the investigation into the case.

He further said that the four security guards, who were in charge of maintaining security of the customs' warehouse by rotation at the time of the incident, are now being interrogated in connection of the incident.

In response to another question, the DC also said that the missing gold was detained by the airport customs under 437 detention memos (DM) at various times between 2020 and 2023.

The rule says that the seized gold must to be deposited to Bangladesh Bank's vault. Therefore, question remains as to why the rule was defied, the DC added.

He further said they visited the warehouse, but didn’t find any CCTV camera there. So it’s difficult to immediately identify the people involved in the crime.

Commissioner of Dhaka Customs House Nurul Huda Azad on Sunday told media that they had formed committee has already formed to investigate the matter.