RAB starts a total of five cases over raids in illegal casinos in the capital
A total of five cases were filed on Thursday following Wednesday’s drives of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) in several illegal casinos in Dhaka.
Four of them were filed against Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan, organizing secretary of Awami Jubo League’s Dhaka (South) unit, on different charges after he was arrested for running one of those unauthorized establishments.
Two Dhaka courts on Thursday evening also granted police seven days to interrogate Khalid, president of Fakirerpool Youngmen’s Club, in two of these cases.
RAB lodged three cases at Gulshan police station on Thursday afternoon under the Narcotics Control Act, Arms Act and Money Laundering Prevention Act, said the elite force’s Legal and Media Wing Senior Assistant Director Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan.
He said RAB also filed another case against Khalid at Motijheel police station under the Narcotics Control Act.
Earlier, around 2:30pm, RAB also handed Khalid over to Gulshan police. Later around 8:25pm, he was taken to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court.
There, Metropolitan Magistrate Begum Mahmuda remanded him for four days in the arms case and Metropolitan Magistrate Shahinur Rahman granted police three days in the narcotics case to question him. Both cases were filed at Gulshan police station.
The courts also rejected a plea filed by Khalid’s lawyer seeking cancellation of the remand petitions.
Prior to that, Metropolitan Magistrate Debdas Chandra Adhikari approved a petition filed by police to show Khalid arrested in the narcotics case.
Afterwards, Khali was taken to the Detective Branch (DB) office at the city’s Minto Road, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s (DMP) DB North Division Deputy Commissioner (DC) Moshiur Rahman.
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He also said that the cases against Khalid were transferred to DB for further investigation. “We have started looking into the charges levelled against him.”
RAB official Mizanur said that the fifth case was filed at Motijheel police station over Wednesday’s raid at a casino inside the Dhaka Wanderers’ Club at Fakirapool.
The list of accused include three named — Tuhin Munsi, Nobir Hossain Shikdar and Saiful Islam — people and 20-25 unknown others in this case.
CID to probe money laundering charges
DMP Gulshan Division DC Sudip Kumar Chakraborty said, according to the procedure, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) will investigate the money laundering case.
“The case documents will be sent to the CID soon,” he said.
He added: "Meanwhile, we are continuing our investigation. Hopefully, we will get more information from Khalid during further interrogation.”
In a major clampdown on gamblers, RAB on Wednesday evening raided several illegal casinos in Dhaka city and arrested Khalid, who allegedly ran one of those establishments inside Fakirerpool Youngmen's Club in Fakirapool.
Other illegal casinos at Fakirapool, Banani and Gulistan areas were also raided and sealed. During the raids, the elite force also seized around Tk40 lakh, and large amount of gambling equipment and illegal liquor, among other items, from three of the casinos.
Many of these casinos were reportedly run by leaders of the Awami League’s affiliate organizations, according to sources and locals.
More than 180 men and women, including casino staff and gamblers, were detained during the raids, after which mobile courts jailed them in different terms.
Simultaneously, RAB conducted another raid and arrested Khalid from his Gulshan 2 residence on Wednesday evening.
DC Sudip said a shotgun, two pistols, 57 rounds of shotgun shells, 53 rounds of bullets, 585 yaba pills, over Tk10 lakh, and more than Tk7 lakh in foreign currencies were recovered during that raid.
He said the licences of the three firearms had expired in 2017.
Khalid’s torture cell discovered
After Jubo League leader Khalid was arrested, RAB on Wednesday night also discovered a so-called torture cell he ran in the capital’s Kamalapur area and recovered some torture devices used in there.
The torture cell — housed on the fourth floor of Eastern Kamalapur Commercial Complex, situated opposite of Kamalpur Railway Station — was found by a RAB 3 team, according to sources.
Locals and RAB sources claimed Khalid used to torture people in this place if they did not agree to pay him extortion money.
RAB sources also said that the elite force raided the torture cell based on information provided by intelligence agencies and Khalid’s past victims.
During this raid, devices used for electrical torture, wooden sticks used for beating, Tk23,500, 190 yaba pills, five cans of beer, sheesha, three mobile phones and two laptops were recovered from the cell.
‘Illegal casinos across Dhaka being listed’
DMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam on Thursday said they have started making a list of all the illegal casinos across the capital.
Speaking to reporters at his office, he said: "Along with RAB, police will also take action against those who run illegal gambling activities and casinos, no matter how powerful they are.”
“No such illegal business will run in this city.”
According to media reports, there are 60 illegal casinos in the capital. Gambling takes place regularly at these casinos in Segunbagicha, Motijheel, Fakirapool, Dilkusha, Bank Colony, Arambagh, Naya Paltan, Kakrail, Gulistan, Osmani Udyan, Bangabazar, Gulshan Link Road, Uttara, New Market, and Kalabagan areas.
‘Crackdown to continue’
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal also on Thursday said that the crackdown on unauthorized casinos in the city was carried out based on intelligence information and such drive will continue against all the illegal clubs and businesses.
“Action will be taken if it’s found that the casinos were running with support from the administration or anyone was involved in it,” he said while talking to reporters at the secretariat in the afternoon.
He added: “We don’t issue licenses for casinos. Government approval is needed for running casinos. That’s why law enforcers conducted the drive in the casinos on Thursday [Wednesday].”
Addressing another event in the city later, Kamal said that illegal casinos have sprung up across Dhaka over the past one year and the government will shut them down soon.