Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan said on Thursday that no illegal ‘casinos’ would be allowed to be operated and none involved in such activity would be spared as the ongoing raids were being conducted based on intelligence reports.
Talking to the press at his office, the minister said, ‘We will take legal action if any people in the administration are found cooperating with the illegal casino business. They will face trial…’
The government gives license for running bars, likewise government approval is also needed to run a casino, he said.
‘We have asked all the police stations to prepare lists of those [such casinos]. I have already received one yesterday and one today and the RAB will respond [to the illegal operations] they are doing,’ said Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam while talking at a selected group of journalists.
The Rapid Action Battalion, in a sudden crackdown on gambling operations in the capital on Wednesday, shut down four illegal ‘casinos’ in capital’s Fakirapul, Banani and Gulistan and sealed off those.
The RAB on Wednesday also arrested the owner of a gambling house at Fakirapul’s Young Men’s Club, Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, from his Gulshan house, who is Awami Juba League city south unit’s organising secretary.
Awami Juba League chairman Omar Faroque Chowdhury at a press conference on Wednesday night raised questions about the sudden raids on so-called casinos and wondered whether those were parts of ‘de-politicisation’.
He insisted that the government should also arrest police and RAB officials serving in those areas where so-called casinos had been in operation for years.
Local lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon, chairman of the Workers Party of Bangladesh, said that he was made the chairman of the governing body of the Young Men’s Club in 2016 as local lawmaker and visited there for one day.
‘Before me, Maya [Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya] was holding the chairmanship,’ said Menon. He also said that he was not much aware of what was happening inside the sporting club.
Khaled was produced before a metropolitan magistrate court at about 7:30pm on Thursday in connection with two cases filed with the Gulshan police station and another at Motijheel police.
The metropolitan magistrate Shahinur Rahman remanded him for three days in police custody in a narcotics case and another magistrate Mahamuda Akhter remanded him for four days in an arms case.
Defence lawyer Mahmudul Haque claimed that no yaba tablets were found at his residence and the narcotics case was filed to malign his client politically.
The cases filed against Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan with the Gulshan police station were under the Arms Act, 1878, the Narcotics Control Act, 2018 and the Money Laundering Control Act, 2012 and another case was filed at Motijheel police under the Narcotics Control Act, 2018.
In the past, several media outlets had reported on the illegal gambling centres in the capital but no action was reported.
The sudden move followed a stern warning from prime minister and AL president Sheikh Hasina at a meeting of the AL Central Working Committee on Saturday night.
The AL chief expressed anger over various allegations against some Juba League leaders, according to meeting sources.
Hasina didn’t mention any name but hinted at Ismail Chowdhury Samrat, president of Juba League Dhaka (south) city unit, and Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan, according to media reports.
Earlier on September 7, the AL president at a meeting of the AL Parliamentary Board also voiced resentment over the alleged involvement of Juba League leaders in extortion.
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