What about the casino cases?

The then president of Dhaka south city Jubo League Ismail Hossain alias Samrat was arrested on 6 October, 2019 after being accused of involvement in illegal casino business. Later, four cases were registered against him on the allegations of amassing wealth beyond known sources, money laundering, involvement in the drug business and keeping illegal arms.

The charge sheets of three of these cases lodged against him for amassing assets beyond known income sources, involvement in the drug business and keeping arms in possession have been submitted to the court. The court is setting dates for the hearing to frame charges in these cases now. And the money laundering case is still under investigation.

Apart from Samrat, a total of 55 cases were filed against 12 other then Jubo League leaders, including Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, Kazi Anisur Rahman and AKM Mominul Haque. Of them, verdicts have been announced only in five cases at the trial courts. Some 20 people were convicted in these five cases, including influential contractor G K Shameem, Selim Pradhan, the then vice-president of Gendaria thana Awami League Enamul Haque and joint general secretary of the same unit of Jubo League Rupon Bhuiyan.

The Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) lodged cases against Ismail Hossain Samrat on the allegation of amassing properties beyond known income sources and money laundering on 12 November 2019. He was accused of acquisition of properties worth Tk 29,480,000 beyond known sources of income.

Ismail Hossain Samrat, Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan and Kazi Anisur Rahman

Ismail Hossain Samrat, Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan and Kazi Anisur RahmanFile photo

The charge sheet of the case was submitted to the court on 26 November 2020. The court set 10 January 2021 as the day for hearing on the charge sheet in the case. The Senior Special Judge Court in Dhaka took the charge sheet in cognisance on 22 March 2022. The case was then transferred to the Special Judge Court-6 for trial. Since then, the date for the hearing to frame charges against Samrat has been deferred 16 times as of 15 January. Samrat’s lawyer sought more time on every date.

Speaking , ACC public prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain said the hearings on framing of charges against Samrat in the cases filed on the allegations of money laundering and acquisition of assets beyond known income sources are ongoing.

Besides, appeals have been made several times in the court seeking more time for framing charges against Samrat in cases filed under the Arms Control Act and the Narcotics Control Act, according to sources.

Samrat’s lawyer Afroza Parvin told that the case filed against her client on charges of money laundering is still under investigation. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police is investigating the case.

Samrat’s lawyer claimed before the court that each of these cases is politically motivated and was filed only to harass her client. Samrat was released on bail on 27 August.

Khaled’s bank account freed

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested the then organising secretary of Dhaka south city Jubo League Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan from Gulshan in the capital in September 2019. He was accused in six cases. Charge sheets of five of these cases have been submitted to the court. Depositions of witnesses in these cases are underway at the moment.

The case filed against Khaled under the Money Laundering Prevention Act is under trial at the Dhaka Divisional Special Judge Court now. According to relevant sources, the court has recorded the depositions of 14 witnesses in this case so far.

According to court source, the court ordered to defreeze Khaled’s bank account on 20 March during the trial of the money laundering case. The court said the order was passed considering Khaled’s illness to ensure proper treatment. At the same time, the court also ordered to free the seized documents of his flat. Khaled was released on bail on 1 September, 2022.

Anisur’s bank account freed too

Kazi Anisur Rahman was the office secretary of the central unit of Jubo League. The ACC filed a case against him on the allegation of amassing properties worth Tk 149.5 million beyond known income sources in 2019.

The charge sheet against Anisur in this case was submitted to the court after investigation on 8 February 2021. The Divisional Special Judge Court framed charges against him on 7 March 2022. Testimonies of 47 witnesses were recorded in this case.

The court ordered to defreeze Anisur’s bank account following his appeal on 27 November last year.

The court order said Anisur’s bank account had been freed to bear his daily expenses and to run his business on condition of clearing the salary allowances of his employees. Anisur is currently free on bail.

Speaking regarding this to, senior ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam said he doesn’t know about the court order to free the freezed bank accounts of Khaled and Anisur. However, the ACC usually takes legal actions challenging such court orders, he said.

Mominul’s trial not finished yet

Mominul Haque was the joint general secretary Dhaka south city Jubo League. The ACC filed a case against him on the allegation of earning Tk 44.7 million from various illegal businesses, including the casino business, on 20 November 2019.

The ACC placed the charge sheet against Mominul after investigation on 17 April 2022. The court framed charges against him on 14 August last year. So far, the court has recorded the deposition of only one witness in this case.

The CID filed two cases against Mominul and submitted the charge sheet against him in one of these two cases. It said Mominul helped one of his friends run the casino business at the Mohammedan Club in the city and used to take Tk 500,000 from the business every day. The trial of this case has just started.

The CID lodged another case against Mominul on 30 May 2021 on the allegation of earning Tk 250 million from coordinated extortions and casino business. According to the case statement, Mominul’s accomplices used to extort from more than 12,000 shops on footpaths and various shops and business firms in the Arambagh area of the capital. They used to deposit the money from extortion to the bank account of Mominul’s business firm named Baishakhi Enterprise. After taking over as the president of the Arambagh Sporting Club, he introduced ‘one 10’ (a betting game) at the club. The CID has found evidence of depositing more than Tk 144.22 million, which came from the casino business and extortion. The investigation of the case is yet to be finished.

Asked about this, CID media wing’s superintendent of police (SP) Azad Rahman told that collecting information for the cases related to money laundering is time-consuming. The charge sheet of the case will be placed before the court after collecting all the information needed as soon as possible.

Expelled central Krishak League leader Kazi Shafiqul Islam alias Firoze was arrested for being involved in casino business. Charge sheets of four cases against him, including a money laundering case, have been submitted to the court. The testimonies of the witnesses in these cases are being recorded now.

Four cases, including a money laundering case, against former director of the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) Lokman Hossain are under trial at the moment. Former Jubo League leader Enamul Haque alias Arman was arrested along with Ismail Hossain alias Samrat in 2019. He has been accused in three cases, which are under trial now.

Each of these accused claimed innocence in the court. They claimed the cases were filed to harass them.

20 has been sentenced

Some 11 people, including two expelled Awami League leaders Enamul and Rupon of Faridpur, were sentenced to different prison terms by the court in two separate cases. At least nine more cases against Enamul and Rupon are under trial.

Selim Pradhan, who was involved in casino business, has been convicted by the court in the case lodged against him on the allegation of money laundering. Trial of four other cases against him is underway.

Besides, influential contractor GK Shameem and seven of his bodyguards have been sentenced to different terms by the court in a money laundering case. All of them have also been convicted in the case filed under the Arms Control Act. Trial of four other cases against GK Shameem is ongoing.

Speaking, Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judge Court public prosecutor Abdullah Abu said the initiative of the prosecution to settle these cases at the trial courts is still on as before.

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