Golden Monir acquired over 200 land plots with forged documents
Gold trader Monir Hossain owns over 200 plots of land in several areas of Dhaka through a forgery of documents in collusion with corrupt officials of the city development authority, Rajuk, says the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
Known as ‘Golden Monir’, Hossain was arrested late on Friday during an overnight raid at his residence in the capital’s Merul Badda.
A large cache of gold and ornaments made of the precious metal, cash, liquor, a pistol and ammunition were seized in the raid, the elite police unit told the media on Saturday.
A huge amount of foreign currency, including US dollars and Saudi riyals, were also confiscated from the businessman’s home, said RAB’s Legal and Media Wing Director Lt Col Ashik Billah.
“Monir possesses assets worth more than Tk1,000 crore and owns more than 200 land plots at Dhaka’s Badda, Nikunj, Uttara and Keraniganj,” he said while briefing the press after the end of the raid.
The 12-hour long raid, which ended at around 11am on Saturday, was carried out on the basis of specific intelligence inputs, according to Billah.
Describing Monir as a land grabber, the senior RAB official said, “In connivance with corrupt officials, he stole official documents from Rajuk (Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha) and later registered the land plots in his name. During initial interrogation, he admitted to owning as many as 30 plots through forged documents.”
In 2019, Rajuk filed a case against Monir for illicitly possessing documents of 70 Rajuk flats, the RAB said, before adding that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had also prosecuted him for acquiring wealth through graft.
RAB spokesperson Billah said that the elite force would formally request government agencies like the ACC, National Board of Revenue and Criminal Investigation Department of police to open a probe in a bid to identify Monir’s accomplices.
From salesman to billionaire
Monir worked as a salesman at a clothing store in Dhaka’s Gausia Market in the 1990s. He later got involved in the “luggage business” – bringing undeclared goods in luggage to evade tax.
Gradually, he made his way into gold smuggling and earned the alias ‘Golden Monir’.
Beginning as a salesman at a Gausia shop, he now owns a gold business in the same mall.
List of seized items
A RAB spokesman said various foreign currencies worth Tk9 lakh from about 10 countries – 20,500 Saudi riyals, 501 US dollars, 500 Chinese yuan, 520 Indian rupees, 1,000 Singaporean dollars, 280,000 Japanese yen, 92 Malaysian ringgit, 10 Hong Kong dollars, 10 UAE dirham, and 660 Thai baht – were recovered from Monir's home.
Additionally, 600 bhori (1 bhori = 11.664 grams) of gold and Tk1.09 crore in cash were seized.
According to RAB, Golden Monir owns a car dealership named ‘Autocar Selection’. He owns five luxury cars which were banned for import into the country. Each of them is worth around Tk3 crore.
Two of his cars were seized from his garage while three others were seized from his car dealership.
Four agencies to investigate
RAB has received several other allegations against Monir. The elite force will formally request the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) to investigate the allegations as well as the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for money laundering and National Board of Revenue (NBR) to investigate tax evasion.
‘Donor to political party’
According to RAB, intelligence inputs suggested that Monir was one of the donors of a political party for the last 10 to 15 years.
Without naming the organization, officials said that they were trying to track the leaders of the political party who received money from Monir.
Three cases prepared against Monir
The RAB official said the force would file a case against Monir under the Special Powers Act with Badda police station for possessing foreign currency without permission.
Besides, separate cases under the firearms and narcotics legislations will be filed as well.