Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) said they will file cases against Raintree Hotel under the Narcotic, VAT and Customs Acts after the hoteliers gave their formal statements on Tuesday.
Director General (Media) of CIID Dr Moinul Khan confirmed the news, saying: “We have found some anomalies after speaking to them which is why we file cases under the Narcotics, VAT and Customs Act.
“We found that Raintree had charged their customers VAT since it launched on April 9 but only paid Tk10,000 till May 14, evading an amount of Tk827,000 in what can be best described as embezzlement.”
In another development, CIID seized a Mercedes Benz sedan belonging to Apan Jewellers’ owner Dildar Ahmed from Sylhet’s Zindabazar area on yesterday.
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The Raintree Hotel’s Managing Director Shah Mohammad Adnan Harun, his cousin Hasib Karim, uncles Mujibul Hoque Kamal and Akbar Hossain Manju, and lawyer Jahangir Kabir appeared before CIID’s Kakrail office around 11am Tuesday for questioning.
Speaking to reporters, Adnan Harun’s lawyer Jahangir Kabir said: “We provided all documents to the CIID and answered all their questions,” adding that the owners had no idea that alcohol was present or being sold at the hotel.
“Hotel managers Franck Forget and Emdadul are the ones who knew about the alcohol and they will speak to the CIID about this,” the lawyer said.
When 10 bottles of alcohol were discovered by authorities at the hotel on May 14, the hotel management had claimed they were just juice, said DG Moinul.
“After much denial, the hotel management finally admitted that it was alcohol that was found there. The hotel does not have a liquor license and we have to deal with this through the legal system.
“These 10 bottles of alcohol are an important part of the evidence in the Banani rape case, which the hotel management tried to avoid by challenging it before the court but was forced to appear before the CIID by the directorate.”
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On May 14, Customs Intelligence officials conducted a drive at Raintree Hotel, where two private university students were raped on March 28, some 12 days before the hotel had officially opened.
They seized 10 bottles of alcohol from a room. The next day, the CIID asked Adnan Harun to appear before it on May 23.
Following the CIID notice, the hotel owner’s counsel moved to court, challenging the legality of the notice. On Monday, the Appellate Division stayed a High Court order for six months that halted a summons order issued by the CIID against Raintree’s MD for one month.
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Meanwhile the National Human Rights Commission’s Probe Committee, which is formed to investigate the Banani rape, called the Gulshan Zone’s deputy commissioner, Banani police station’s officer-in-charge and the Raintree Hotel's managing director and manager.
They were asked to appear before the NHRC office on May 25 to provide more information about the incident, confirmed NHRC’s probe body chief Nazrul Islam.
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