Law-enforcing agencies continued their drives against illegal casinos and bars on Thursday while the National Board of Revenue asked all the customs houses and land customs stations not to release casino equipment.
The Rapid Action Battalion handed over Mohamedan Sporting Club Ltd’s acting director Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan to the Tejgaon police station on Thursday, a day after they arrested him from his house at Monipuri Para under the police station in the city.
In a preliminary interrogation Lokman admitted that he had deposited Tk 41 crore, earned from the club’s casino business, in Australian banks –Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ANZ Bank, said RAB-2 commanding officer Ashik Billah.
Lokman, also a director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board, told the RAB interrogation team that he rented out a room of the club to Mominul Haque Sayeed, a councillor of Dhaka South City Corporation and Juba League leader for operating the casino, said Ashik.
RAB officials said that a case was being processed with Tejgaon police station in this connection.
On Wednesday night and Thursday, the RAB seized a huge quantity of illegally imported liquor and cigarettes and held three employees of Fu-Wang Club, including its manager, during a raid on the club at Tejgaon.
RAB-1 commanding officer Lt Col Sarwar Bin Kasim said that the elite force seized about 10,000 cans of beer and 2,000 bottles of other forms of alcohol and a large quantity of cigarettes from the club.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam on Thursday said that two policemen were suspended for helping two Nepalese persons to escape from being arrested.
He further said that actions would also be taken against the police personnel who would be found involved in illegal casino and gambling operations.
The DMP commissioner on Thursday while addressing journalists at his office said that the policemen were assistant sub-inspector of police Golam Hossain Mithu and constable Dipankar Chakma.
Days before, two policemen including an inspector were transferred for the DMP.
Members from the RAB headquarters and RAB-1 jointly conducted the drive at Fu-Wang Club at night and briefed reporters in the morning on Thursday.
Three days earlier a police team conducted a raid on the club and informed that they did not find anything illegal in the club.
The club owner Sheikh Monirul Islam went into hiding but the RAB continued their efforts to arrest him.
On Thursday, at least seven cases were filed following the recovery of arms and huge cash and gold from the houses of Gendaria thana Awami League vice-president Enamul Huq Enu, his brother’s and accomplices’ houses at Old Dhaka.
Enamul is also a ‘shareholder’ of Wanderers Club at Motijheel, which was sealed for running illegal casino operation.
RAB-3 officials said that four cases were filed with Sutrapur police station, two with Wari police station and another with Genderia police station.
The cases were lodged against Enamul, his brother Rupon Bhuiyan, and his accomplices Abul Kalam Azad and Harun-Or-Rashid under the special powers act and the arms and money laundering control act.
Meanwhile, National Board of Revenue chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan on Thursday told reporters at his office that they had already issued a set of instructions to field-level customs offices so that no casino equipment could enter the country anymore.
The revenue board will also request in writing to the commerce ministry for imposing a ban on the import of casino equipment amending the existing Import Policy Order, according to which import of the items is allowed.
Amid the ongoing drive against casinos and gambling the NBR took the decision as the casino equipment was allegedly imported from different countries by false declaration.
The NBR chairman said that at least seven importers, taking the advantage of import policy order, imported the equipment including roulette tables, roulette game sets, poker sets, poker game chips, shooter ladder games, casino war games, casino coins and chips by paying the applicable duties.
On September 18, law-enforcement agencies started the drives against illegal casinos and bars.
In the last nine days the RAB and police raided 20 sporting and recreation clubs in the capital including Fakererpool Young Men’s Club and Wanderers Club, Kalabagan Krira Chakra, Dhanmondi Club, Mohammedan Sporting Club, Arambagh Krira Sangha, Dilkusha Sporting Club, and Victoria Sporting Club.
Some 150 people were arrested in the drives, including Young Men’s Club president Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, Kalabagan Club president Shafiqul Alam Firoj.
After the drive started almost all suspected club operators, who are also leaders of the ruling Awami League and its associate and front organisations, went into hiding.
Sporting and recreational clubs in Bangladesh illegally imported casino equipment and were running illegal casinos as most of the clubs are presided over by leaders of the AL and pro-AL bodies.
The revenue board has also issued bank accounts search notice to banks and financial institutions seeking detailed information about transactions carried out by 20 people linked to illegal casino business, the NBR chief said.
Of them, eight are politicians, businessmen and government officials and the remaining 12 are their family members, he said.
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