The expelled president of Dhaka city south unit Jubo League, Ismail Hossain Chowdhury alias Samrat. illegally amassed huge amounts of money from the illegal casino business, tender manipulation and extortion, according to police.
A portion of the money was shared with a section of leaders and activists of ruling Awami League and its youth front Jubo League.
Police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) also found information about his laundering money abroad.
During the anti-casino operation, security officials arrested 11 AL and Jubo League leaders who controlled the crime world in Dhaka.
During the interrogation by police and RAB, these persons admitted that they had earned huge wealth illegally.
The cleanliness and anti-casino operations were conducted between 18 September and 31 October in 2019.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, RAB legal and media wing director lieutenant colonel Sarwar Bin Kashem said, “We have interrogated Awami League and Jubo League leaders and councilors who were detained during the anti-casino operations. We have got information that they illegally earned a huge amount of money from casino business, tender manipulation and extortion.”
Court sources said RAB submitted charge sheets against nine people.
RAB and Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police sources said during the interrogation, Samrat said he took Tk 6 million from six clubs in Motijheel area every week.
Samrat also took Tk 1 million as extortion from markets and footpaths in Motijheel and Gulistan areas every week.
Dhaka city south unit Jubo League joint secretary and ward 9 councilor AKM Mominul Haque and same unit expelled organising secretary Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan shared the extorted money with him.
Samrat’s close associate Arman used to keep the accounts, RAB quoted Samrat as saying.
Arman shared a portion of that money with a central leader of AL, Jubo League former chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury and Swechhasebak League president Molla Abu Kawsar and several police officials.
Samrat was treated as VIP at Marina Bay Sands Casino in Singapore.
CID preparing to file a case against Samrat under the money laundering act.
Samrat and Arman were arrested from Muradnagar of Cumilla on 6 October.
Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan
Dhaka Metropolitan South unit JL organising secretary and Fakirapool Young Men’s Club president Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan was interrogated on remand more than once by RAB and CID.
During the interrogation, Khalid said he ran casinos in four clubs including Fakirapool Young Men’s Club, RAB quoted Khalid as saying.
He also admitted that he was involved in tender manipulation in seven government agencies.
The agencies include RAJUK, Rail Bhaban, National Sports Council and Water Development Board. He established shops and clubs by grabbing land of the railway in Shajahanpur.
He laundered a huge amount of money to Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
CID said a charge sheet is being prepared under the money laundering act against Khalid.
On 18 September 2019, Khalid Mahmud was arrested from his Gulshan house in possession of firearms.
During the interrogation, Jubo League leader and influential contractor Golam Kibria (GK) Shamim admitted that he was involved in tender manipulation, RAB and CID quoted Shamim as saying.
Shamim also said he used to give pay least ten engineers of public works department including former chief engineer Rafiqul Islam and additional chief engineer Utpal Kumar Day.
As he paid influential AL lawmakers and the Jubo League former chairman, it was easy for him to get the work orders.
He made government buildings worth Tk 20 billion.
Shamim said he possessed assets worth Tk 3.50 billion.
CID is preparing a charge sheet under the money laundering act against him.
According to RAB officials, Salim Prodhan, the key accused of casino case, said he first opened online casinos in Bangladesh. His two casino centres, P-24 and P-21, were operated from the server of its head office in Phillipines.
He also confessed to his part in money laundering to the USA and Thailand. He said, he had houses and businesses in Thailand.
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.
Lukman Hossain Bhuiyan
Mohammedan Club’s director in-charge Lukman who was arrested on 25 September for renting the club’s room for casino business admitted depositing 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.
*This story, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Farjana Liakat.