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Casinos: Right under the nose of police

  • Published at 11:15 pm September 20th, 2019
Casino equipment, imported by gamblers taking advantage of the benign import policy, have recently been seized by law enforcers from a sport club in the capital Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Several raids took place in search for Illegal casinos in different areas of Dhaka

Following six illegal casinos being raided by law enforcement agencies in Dhaka over the past three days, questions have been raised on how the casinos were being run right under the nose of police.

According to media reports, as many as 60 illegal casinos are operating in the capital. Some of the establishments resemble the luxurious casinos of Las Vegas, stocked with gambling machines, expert operators, and liquor.

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The establishments appear so lavish that people are beginning to wonder if police officials are letting the casinos operate with kickbacks in commissions or shares.

During the recent raids, police arrested a leader of Jubo League, youth front of the ruling Awami League, for his reported involvement in running one of the casinos.

On the very first day of the drives conducted in Dhaka, Jubo League Chairman Omar Faruk Chowdhury said: “You are saying there are 60 casinos in Dhaka? Law enforcement agencies, have you been sucking your thumbs for so long?"

Also Read - RAB cracks down on illegal casinos

He also demanded that police arrest the law enforcement officials who are on duty in the areas where the casinos have been operating for years.

Motijheel police station on the radar

Local sources say many of the casinos in operation are run by leaders of the ruling party’s affiliate organizations.

Law enforcement officials take regular commissions from the casinos and ensure they ran without any hassle, they added.

Asking to remain anonymous, some police officials confirmed that casinos and clubs in Gulshan, Uttara, and Motijheel, have been running gambling businesses in association with police insiders.

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 “The role of police [in casino running]was to guard the area, and also to resolve any problems,” an official said.

Four of the clubs and casinos are reportedly within 300 yards of the Motijheel police station. They are: Fakirerpool Young Men’s Club, Dhaka Wanderers Club, Arambagh Sporting Club, and Dilkusha Sporting Club.

Locals and businesses operating in the area said they have known for 5 or 7 years that casino  gambling has been regular practice inside the clubs. However, Motijheel police station has never taken any action against the clubs.

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Jubo League Dhaka South Organising Secretary Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan was arrested on Wednesday for operating an illegal casino in the Fakirerpool Young Men's Club.

During interrogation, he provided the names of some patrons and police officials who took monthly commissions for turning a blind eye. Sometimes the police officials were given gifts such as air tickets and high-end mobile phones.

Motijheel police OC Omar Faruque declined to comment when asked about the illegal casinos in his jurisdiction.

Also Read - Jubo League chief: Arrest casino operators irrespective of party affiliation

DMP Commissioner Shafikul Islam said they are preparing a list of casinos and their owners or operators, and all of them would face action no matter how influential they were.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said they are conducting raids against the casinos based on intelligence information, and even members of the administration would not be spared if they were assisting the casinos.