It has been revealed that the ‘big fishes’ behind the illegal casino business have amassed huge sums of wealth, laundered money at home and siphoned off money abroad. The authorities have imposed travel bans on those involved with the illegal casino business and other corruption.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has imposed a travel ban on 23 people including of three ruling Awami League lawmakers. They requested the special branch (SB) of police and the immigration department to take measures to this end.
Also, Bangladesh Bank has issued directives for the bank accounts of expelled Jubo League chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury and some other leaders to be frozen.
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has sought information on the assets and bank transactions of former Bangladesh Chhatra League general secretary and Narayanganj-2 MP Nazrul Islam Babu and his wife Sayma Afroze.
NBR has so far frozen bank accounts of Omar Faruk Chowdhury, his wife, his three sons and his businesses, Awami League’s associate body Swecchasebak League president Molla Mohammad Abu Kausar, his wife, daughter and a business company, Jubo League presidium member Sheikh Fazlur Rahman Maruf, his wife and two business companies, Swecchasebak League’s finance secretary KM Masudur Rahman, his wife, father, mother and his business organisation, Dhaka south city Jubo League vice president Mursalik Ahmed, his father, mother and wife.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) started a drive against illegal casino business on 18 September from the Young Men’s Fakirerpool Club and detained Dhaka south city Jubo League organising secretary (expelled later) Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan.
Later, the drives against casino business saw the arrest of contractor SM Golam Kibria Shamim alias GK Shamim, Mohammedan Club’s director in-charge Md Lukman Hossain Bhuiyan, Dhaka south Jubo League president Ismail Chowdhury Samrat, Samrat’s associate Enamul Haque Arman, Kalabagan Krira Chakra’s president Shafiqul Alam Firoz, online casino businessman Selim Prodhan and ward councilors Habibur Rahman Mizan and Tarekuzzaman Rajib.
The arrested persons have allegedly amassed huge amounts of money through illegal means and laundered money abroad. They have disclosed the names of members of parliament, politicians and government officials, among others, as their backers.
ACC on 30 September formed a five-member committee led by its director Syed Iqbal Hossain, to investigate the illegal wealth of the accused. Later two more members were added to the team. Chiefs of RAB and Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) met ACC chairman and provided intelligence on the accused persons.
Investigating the allegations further, ACC has already filed four cases against GK Shamim, Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan, Gandaria Awami League vice president Enamul Haque Enu and his brother joint secretary Rupon Bhuiyan.
ACC sources said, they have made a list of around 100 persons for investigation and more names are being added every day.
The anti graft body will launch investigations against anyone who has amassed illegal money irrespective of their political affiliation, ACC source added.
Allegations against the accused persons
ACC, in coordination with RAB and BFIU, is investigating the allegations. RAB director general Benzir Ahmed and BFIU chief Abu Hena Md Razi Hasan provided ACC chairman plenty of intelligence information during their meeting.
Sources said, ACC will investigate its listed crimes such as illegal wealth amassing and money laundering. RAB and BFIU will work according to their respective mandates.
Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shawon
Lawmaker of Bhola-3 constituency Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shawon’s name came to the fore immediately after the drive begun. Bangladesh Bank froze Shawon’s and his wife Farzana Chowdhury’s bank accounts within five days of anti-casino drive.
Law enforcers sources said, Shawon used to get a payoff from two clubs regularly although he did not have any affiliation with these clubs. He is also accused of siphoning off money abroad. Some arrested persons disclosed his name during investigation.
Samrat was known as political a ‘disciple’ of Shawon.
ACC and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police are investigating him.
Shamsul Haque Chowdhury
Lawmaker of Chattogram-12 and Whip of the parliament Shamsul Haque Chowdhury came down heavily on anti-casino drive immediately after it begins. A section of Awami League leaders accused Shamsul of turning Chattogram Abahani into a casino hub. ACC has slapped a travel ban on him as part of investigations against him.
Moazzem Hossain Ratan
Lawmaker of Sunamganj-1 Moazzem Hossain Ratan allegedly amassed ill-gotten wealth in connivance with GK Shamim.
According to ACC allegations against him, Ratan helped Shamim’s associate contractor Elias to get work in his own constituency and other places in exchange for ‘commission’. He is also accused of money laundering.
Local Awami League leaders demanded Ratan’s punishment accusing him of involvement with extortion and various other corruptions.
Ismail Chowdhury Samrat
There has been a rumor for a long time that Samrat controls the capital’s crime world using his political clout.
His name started to frequent the media after the anti-casino drive begun on 18 September. Law enforcers and political quarters think that Samrat is the chief patron of Dhaka’s casino business. Amid widespread rumor about his whereabouts, Samrat was arrested form Cumilla on 6 October.
RAB is interrogating him in two cases. According to the sources involved with the investigation, Samrat amassed Tk 4-5 billion through casino business, tender business and extortion.
ACC has got documents of only Tk 18 million of Samrat. They are investigating further to find his vast wealth.
Enamul Haque Arman
Dhaka south city Jubo League’s expelled vice president Arman was known as Samrat’s cashier.
He amassed huge amounts of money after getting Jubo League post. He used to manage Samrat’s casino world. Arman got arrested with Samrat on 6 August. A mobile court handed him down six month’s jail term under narcotic control act as he was in drunken state when arrested.
Golam Kibria Shamim was arrested from the capital with illegal firearms and a huge amount of money on 20 September.
RAB seized Tk 1.65 billion Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR) and Tk 18 million in cash and foreign currencies during the drive at his Niketan office.
ACC on 21 October filed a case against him for amassing around Tk 3 billion and said they are getting new pieces of information on Shamim’s illegal wealth every day.
Sources said, Shamim’s construction firm GKB is alone working on 13 projects of the public works ministry. The company is also involved with another 42 projects jointly with others. In total, Shamim’s firm alone takes care of 28 per cent of the department’s projects countrywide.
Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan
Khalid was arrested on the very first day of anti-casino drive. Three cases under arms, narcotics control and money laundering were filed against him. ACC is now looking for his illegal wealth and filed a case against him on 21 October.
Sources said, he used to control and collect extortion from Khilgaon and Shahjahanpur ‘Leguna’ bus stand, Arambagh bus stand, and footpaths of Motijheel.
Two engineers of public works department
Public works department’s former chief engineer Rafiqul Islam and additional chief engineer Abdul Hai allegedly had given contracts of the department, taking bribe from GK Shamim. ACC was already investigating corruption allegation against Rafiqul. The anti graft body has barred foreign travel of the duo after fresh allegations surfaced against them.
Prashanta Kumar Halder
ACC imposed a travel ban on former managing director of NRB Global Bank Prashanta on allegations of amassing illegal wealth in connivance with persons involved with illegal casino business. NBR had frozen his bank accounts earlier. ACC is also investigating his involvement with corruption in Reliance Finance Limited.
Kazi Anisur Rahman
Expelled office secretary of Jubo League Kazi Anisur Rahman allegedly amassed huge amount of illegal wealth by committee-business and various other corruptions. He was known as Omar Faruk’s cashier.
Enamul Haque Enu and Rupon Bhuiyan
RAB conducted raid in Enamul Haque Enu and Rupon Bhuiya’s house in Old Dhaka on 24 September. They were Dhaka Wanderers Club’s casino shareholders.
The brothers amassed huge amounts of money and gold from the casino business at the club.
Seven cases were filed against them although they were not arrested. ACC in a case accused the siblings of amassing wealth worth Tk 350 million from illegal source.
Lukman Hossain Bhuiyan
Mohammedan Club’s director in-charge Lukman was arrested on 25 September for renting off club’s room for casino business.
RAB said Lukman deposited Tk 410 million in Australia’s ANZ and Commonwealth Bank.
Lukman was a central committee member of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) but the party had expelled him after he became member of Bangladesh Cricket Board.
Shafiqul Alam Feroz
Kalabagan Krira Chakra Club president Shafiqul Alam Feroz was arrested on 21 September. He was sued on charges of possessing an illegal firearm and drugs.
Kalabagan club was first to bring casino instruments in Dhaka and other clubs including Victoria, Wanderers’, Youngmen’s Fakirerpul, Muktijuddha, Mohammedan and Arambag club followed suit. Kalabagan club used to earn Tk 10 million a day and Feroz used to control the club.
RAB arrested businessman Salim Prodhan at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport over his alleged ties to online gambling business on 30 September. He was sued in two cases under narcotics control and money laundering act.
AKM Mominul Haque Sayeed
Mominul Haque Sayeed is Dhaka city south Jubo League’s joint secretary and councilor of ward No. 9 of Dhaka South City Corporation. He is also secretary of Bangladesh Hockey Federation and president of Arambagh Krira Charka club.
Known as ‘Casino Sayeed’ in Fakirapul and Arambagh, Sayeed used to control casinos, drugs and gambling business at Wanderers Club and four other clubs.
ACC is investigating his wealth and a travel ban has been imposed on him.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo Bangla Online, has been rewritten in English by Galib Ashraf.