The former DMP chief said the whole society failed to stop illegal casinos from emerging in Bangladesh
Bangladesh has recently begun a crackdown on illegal casinos. Several people were detained and crores of money were seized in these raids that began on September 18.
Asaduzzaman Mia discharged his duty as the commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) for the last four and a half years before his retirement on September 13. Later, he was hired as the coordinator of the National Security Council, on a three-year contract.
In an interview with Bangla Tribune, the former DMP commissioner spoke about the illegal casinos here and the role of law enforcement.
When asked about the police's failure to stop illegal casinos, Asaduzzaman Mia said: "People have been playing housie and one-ten for years, which now has taken the form of casinos. If police have failed, what success did the other law-enforcement agencies have?
"If you are saying that RAB [Rapid action battalion], who are getting credits now, were in the field at that time also [previously], so were the journalists. The way newspapers are highlighting the issue of casinos now, that did not happen before the honourable prime minister gave instructions (regarding it), nor did they [media houses] cover our small raids to the extent they are doing it now."
"It is not just our failure, but the failure of the whole society," he added.
He said: "Names of politicians, journalists, police, and detectives came up for their alleged involvement in this illegal businesses. Those who financed, sponsored and benefited from these businesses, their names should be listed down based on the information given by the arrestees, and proper action should be taken against them, to avoid such incidence in future.”
The former DMP commissioner said: "If you are talking about my personal accountability, then I will say that I have only four information sources, police station, detective agencies, media houses, and general people.
"We took action as soon as we received information about it [illegal casinos]. Earlier, when we got information that Samrat [Jubo League leader] rented a flat and started the process of opening a casino in Pritom Zaman tower, we sealed it off.
“We we heard about gambling in Uttara Recreation Club, Kalabagan Club and a club in Gulshan, we sealed those off too."
He added: "We were not aware of other casinos. Everyone knows that these sports organizations arrange small housie and one-ten games, and run the club with the money.
"Now, it seems that a circle turned it into a big illegal business, of which we were unaware. It was a complete system failure."
When asked about police inaction, Asaduzzaman said: "These small scale housie and one-ten is common in Bangladesh, even local authorities approved it to earn money for sports organizations, which had no other source of income.
"The political and social influencers soon became part of these gambling and created this anarchy. Many of the business owners were policy makers ,and it was not impossible but hard for police alone to stop them."
"A direct instruction from those holding power centrally was required to stop this anarchy, which is being done now, "he added.
Asaduzzaman also said: "By blaming police alone and damaging their image will not bring any solution. Everyone should come to police, whenever in need, and also to file cases and support them [police] to fight against all sorts of corruptions, otherwise, next day new Khaled or Samrat [Jubo league leaders allegedly involved with casino business] will be born."
“Among 250,000 policemen, a few are corrupt, and strong action will be taken against those whose names come up in the investigations," he added.
The former commissioner said: "Why are we not talking about the corruption in other sectors? No vehicles are allowed on roads without paying bribe to transport sector, what about the share market crash and money heist in banks? Where does all the money go? Who are behind this?
"It is tough for police alone to prevent everything. Nobody did anything before the order from the prime minister [Sheikh Hasina]. Now, everyone one is just trying to blame and take credit (for the drives)."