The Rapid Action Battalion in a daylong drive arrested top government contractor and Awami Juba League leader SM Golam Kibria Shamim along with his seven body guards from his construction firm in capital’s Niketon area on specific information.
The elite force officials, aided by an executive magistrate, also seized Tk 1.8 crore in cash and Tk 165 crore in fixed deposit receipts issued after him and his mother Ayesha Akhter from the second floor of his business building.
After the raid on his house and nearby business building in Niketon residential area, which lasted about 12 hours, the RAB members took Golam Kibria Shamim, better known as GK Shamim, to their headquarters at about 6:30pm.
Shamim is the chairman and managing director of the engineering construction company GKB, enlisted with the government.
According to his office staff and a photograph with prime minister Sheikh Hasina that hung at the office reception, he was Juba League central unit’s cooperative secretary and Awami League Narayanganj district unit’s vice-president.
Both Juba League central chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury and Narayanganj Awami League district unit president Abdul Hai, however, denied his positions in their respective units.
Following his arrest, his company managers supplied journalists with a list of his company’s on-going and completed construction projects.
The projects included the RAB headquarters building, Cabinet Division building, National Revenue Board building and at least six major public hospitals in the capital.
During the drive, RAB spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Sarwar Bin Kashem confirmed his arrest along with his seven body guards.
Sarwar said that they had information about his connection with tender manipulations and hence raided his house and business firm.
The RAB spokesperson also disclosed that they seized over Tk 1.80 crore in cash and Tk 165 crore in FDRs issued in his and his mother’s names.
‘We have also seized a huge amount of US and Singapore dollars from his possession. We seized some drugs from him, too,’ Sarwar told the press people that gathered in front of Shamim’s business firm.
The RAB would examine his cash with respect to the anti-money-laundering law although it was admitted that he was a government contractor, the spokesperson said.
In response to the query why he was arrested, Sarwar could not satisfactorily answer and RAB executive magistrate Sarwar Alam intervened and said that there was allegations against him under anti-money-laundering law while his bodyguards on many occasions were allegedly seen brandishing their weapons.
‘Besides, some drugs have also been found in his possession, which in not authorised. This is why he was arrested…,’ said magistrate Sarwar, adding, ‘All these will come up in the investigation and in the trial and if he is innocent he will be acquitted…’
Asked whether and when the RAB received a specific allegation against GK Shamim over tender manipulation, magistrate Sarwar said the law enforcers usually conduct arrest operations based on information.
Asked about his body guards brandishing firearms, he said that there were allegations against them of using legal arms in illegal acts.
Asked whether keeping large amounts of money was any crime, the executive magistrate did not give a direct answer but said this type of question should not to be asked.
While being led to the RAB car handcuffed, Shamim was asked why he was arrested but he kept mum and walked on.
Employees of Shamim’s construction firm said that the RAB personnel arrived at his house at about 6:00am, who introduced themselves as city corporation staff and at one stage started their search of the house.
At about 11:00am, the RAB members moved to his office building and entered his cabin and CCTV room first.
‘One of them shut down all the CCTV connections and took away the DVR,’ said a staff member.
Shamim’s personal secretary Didarul Islam Samrat said that the cash seized from the office was brought to distribute among their construction sites and suppliers as the banks enjoyed holiday on Friday and Saturday.
About the seizure of five to six bottles of alcohol, Didarul and five other staffers said that their employer did not drink alcohol and even his office was a no-smoking zone.
‘You could see actually what happened if the CCTV was functioning,’ said another employee.
On September 18, the Rapid Action Battalion, in a sudden crackdown on gambling operations in the capital, shut down four illegal ‘casinos’ in Fakirapul, Banani and Gulistan and sealed off those.
The RAB on September 18 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.
Khaled Mahmud was remanded in a weeklong police custody in four cases filed against him.
Juba League, meanwhile, has expelled Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan for his alleged involvement in unethical activities, according to Mizanul Islam Mizu, education, training and library secretary of the Juba League.
Meanwhile, RAB-2 personnel raided Kalabagan Krira Chakra Club in capital’s Dhanmondi on Friday afternoon.
Suspecting a casino business in the club, a team from Rab-2 lay siege to it around 4:00pm and later raided.
RAB-2 commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Ashique Billah said that they arrested club president Shafiqul Alam Feroz, also a central executive committee member of the pro-AL Krishak League, and four others with drug and an undocumented small pistol.
The RAB-2 commanding officer said they also sized 500 sets of cards and many accessories used in the gambling centre.
Along with Firoz, four club employees – Rafikul Islam, Muhammad Haroon, Anwar Hossain and Liton Mia –would be handed over to the Dhanmondi police station.
The suspected furniture and rooms of the club were not seen to be used recently and the staff and local people said the gambling-related activities had been suspended for over two years.
Till 9:30pm, the RAB was conducting a raid in another club called Dhanmondi Club located at Metro Shopping Mall in Dhanmondi while another raid was being conducted in Chattogram.
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