Yet another Jubo League leader, Mominul Haque alias Sayeed, came to the limelight amid the recent crackdown by the law enforcement on clubs involved in running illegal casinos in the capital.
Mominul Haque Sayeed is the joint secretary of Dhaka city south Jubo League committee as well as a councillor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
Despite being a councillor of ward no. 9, he does not attend the regular board meeting regular. He often goes abroad without the required permission of the local government ministry. He is presently in Singapore.
The ministry has issued a notice to remove him from office while the DSCC has asked to police take necessary action against him.
His casino business
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) conducted raids on the Young Men’s Club and Wanderer’s Club in Fakirapool, Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra in Gulistan and Golden Dhaka Club in Banani on Wednesday.
Mominul Haque alias Sayeed was operating the Wanderer’s Club, now sealed for gambling and narcotics, according to RAB.
Sayeed fled to Singapore after the RAB operation, said a number of locals citing that he has a chain of casino business in Thailand and Singapore.
He is known as ‘Casino Sayeed’ in Fakirapool and Arambagh, they added.
Wanderer’s Club, just a short distance from the Motijheel police station, is now under lock and key.
Sayeed scaled to this position through extortion in Motijheel and surrounding areas, said cable operator and old resident of Arambagh area Tanvir Alam.
After being elected as the councillor he started a casino in Motijheel’s Wanderer’s Club in 2015.
Molla Md Abu Kawsar, the president of Bangladesh Awami Swechhashebok League, was his close associate in this business. Sayeed also ran casinos in four more clubs, he added.
The secretary of DSCC ward no. 9 said, Sayeed is now in Singapore. He, however, did not say clearly why and when did he left for Singapore.
Denying the allegations of his involvement in running illegal casinos, Sayeed on Monday told Prothom Alo over phone that it was Mollah Kawsar who operated the casinos.
The executive magistrate Sarwar Alam of RAB said, the law enforcers seized one million taka in cash, liquor, gold chains and rings from the club during the raid.
Three staff members of the club were arrested at the time and a case was filed with Motijheel police station accusing 20-25 unnamed persons including the three, he added.
Show Cause Notice
As many as 18 board meetings were held in DSCC from April 2015 to June this year. Sayeed only attended five. Despite orders of DSCC and local government ministry, Sayeed continued going abroad without the permission of the two bodies.
DSCC brought the matter to the ministry’s attention in a letter on 25 June.
Seeking anonymity, an official of local government division told Prothom Alo, according to the rules, three consecutive absences at the board meeting was an offence and violation of regulations.
Referring to the issue, he was sent a show-cause notice on 7 July. But no action has been taken against him because of the lobbying by an influential Awami League leader.
Official of the City Corporation branch-5 under the local government division, deputy secretary ANM Faizul Haque said, “Mominul Haque replied to the notice. The minister is indisposed, so no decision has not been taken as yet.”
Local government minister Tajul Islam said he was not aware of the matter and would take necessary action after inquiry.
On 23 June, DSCC sent a letter to the special police superintendent to prevent Mominul Haque travelling abroad without permission. Yet he went to Singapore again without permission a few days back, said DSCC secretary Mostafa Kamal Majumder.
“It is not clear, how he went abroad even after the letter to the police. Residents of the ward are deprived of due services and administrative works are disrupted due to his behaviour,” he added.
Sayeed, however, told Prothom Alo over phone that he had permission to go abroad as he was involved with various clubs apart from his being the councilor.
He is in Singapore for his son’s treatment now, he also said.
Fakirapool and Arambagh come under ward no. 9 of DSCC. Councillor Mominul Haque alias Sayeed has installed iron gates along with CCTV cameras at the end of every street of this ward and appointed security guards at every gate.
His people collect money from the houses and shops in the locality in the name of service charges every month for the past three years.
“They set the amount considering the size of the shop. If anybody refuses to pay to them, Sayeed’s men threaten them and hamper their business,” said a grocery shop owner of the area.
The councillor took lease of two cattle markets at Kamalapur Stadium and Gopibagh Balur Math area in 2016. It is illegal for a ward councillor to take part in such activities, as per the city corporation rules. DSCC had cancelled the lease after the matter appeared in the media.
Mominul Haque has also been accused of extortion on footpaths in Motijheel and surrounding areas.
Hawker and lineman Emdad Hossain of Motijheel Shapla Chattar said the councillor's people take money from the hawkers regularly.
The councillor attended the DSCC board meeting on 26 August where he expressed his interest in supervising the development work of the area. The mayor of DSCC said that the responsibility of supervising goes to the engineering department, not to the councillor. This led to a heated exchange of words with Sayeed.
A DSCC official said that ward councillors used to oversee the development work of the area. They used to take big amounts of money from the contractors. This is why the ministry took away this function from the councillors, he added.