A number of BNP leaders seem to be in jeopardy as the ongoing anti-crime drives by the government have put many BNP leaders and activists in fear of being apprehended. Such fear comes at the time when many of the names are believed to be disclosed by the arrested casino kingpins. The leaders used to get monthly toll regularly from the casinos and clubs though they are not in power for long 12 years.
There is an allegation that the BNP leaders first introduced the casino business in Bangladesh. They are also fearing that the government may frame charges against them considering political affiliation. The political analysts said the BNP leaders are turning down their involvement with casino business but they are somehow involved with the business. The Awami League leaders are not mentioning their names, it seems there are something fishy behind it. They change their faces with the changing political scenarios. When it comes to money and power all are same.
Sources said the accused BNP leaders have already started to hide the evidences related with the casino business. Denying all the allegations, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said ‘All the caricatures of the government have come out’. Standing Committee Member Nazrul Islam said “Some ruling party leaders are blaming that the casino owners used to send Tarique Zia Tk 1 crore per month. What they did in this regard in the last 11 years clinging to power?.
Welcoming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s initiative, Mirza Abbas said “You have started the cleansing operation from home, So, we hope that all the big fishes will be netted in the drives”. Sources said those, who were detained for their alleged involvement in the casino business, mentioned names of several BNP leaders.
Juba League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, tender Mafia GK Shamim and Mohammedan Sporting Club Director Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan gave important information. The intelligence agencies said according to the information of Lokman and GK Shamim, the first casino idea came to Bangladesh through BNP’s Acting Chairman Tarique Zia.
GK Shamim said some BNP leaders including Mirza Abbas and Sadeque Hossain Khoka were the pioneers of the casino business. Shamim started his tender business under the supervision of Mirza Abbas. Shamim used to award the tenders in exchange of big amount of money while Mirza Abbas was the Minister for Public Works and Housing.
Besides, Mirza Abbas and his brother Mirza Khokon controlled the Motijheel area. He conducted the gambling board alongside the casino business following the direction of Mirza Abbas and his brothers. As evidence, he mentioned the seized registered khata where the matter of money transaction in the name of Abbas and Nazrul Islam Khan was recorded. The amount would be nearly about one crore.
It is learnt that GK Shamim was the Joint Secretary of Mohanagar Juba Dal during the regime of BNP led four-party alliance. During RAB interrogation, Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan said “He got the idea of earning money from the casino business from Tarique Zia. He talked with Tarique Zia several times regarding the issue”. He also said that he met Tarique Zia in London in 2016 and talked about the issue. At that time Tarique Zia asked him to run the business.
He first started the casino business at Mohammedan Club and began to send Tarique Tk one crore per month. Meanwhile, the intelligence agencies have the information that BNP leader Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury amassed much wealth through the casino business. The criticism began after a picture of Lokman Hossain went viral on social media which showed that Lokman was holding an umbrella on Khaleda Zia’s head at a BNP rally in Nayapaltan.
Moreover, several Swechchasebak and Chhatra Dal leaders’ name, including Saiful Alam Nirab, came out as godfathers. The members of intelligence agencies are scrutinizing the names carefully. They will be brought under interrogation after scrutiny. The Awami League leaders said the accused BNP leaders won’t be spared.
On September 22, Awami League Joint Secretary General Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the names of Mirza Abbas, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and Nazrul Islam Khan are in the list of GK Shamim. He also said BNP founder Ziaur Rahman first started gambling and liquor business in the country. Legal action would be taken against the corrupt BNP leaders, he added.
Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud said the casino business was introduced during the BNP-Jamaat regime. Mirza Abbas, Mosaddeq Ali Falu and Sadeque Hossain Khoka launched the casino business. No one can avoid the responsibility.