As part of the ongoing crackdown against gambling rings or casinos, police on Sunday raided four sporting clubs at Motijheel area in the city. Separate contingent of police equipped with sophisticated firearms raided Mohammedan Sporting Club, Arambagh Krira Sangha, Dilkusha Sporting Club and Victoria Sporting Club from 2.30 pm.
Since noon, the law enforcers surrounded the clubs and later they stormed in at a time and continued the raid till 4pm. However, none was arrested in this connection. The members of law enforcement agencies recovered casino equipment’s, cash and bottles of alcohol. Deputy Commissioner of Motijheel Zone Anwar Hossain told newsmen that said they conducted the raids at those clubs as part of the ongoing clampdown against criminal activities.
“We began raiding the clubs at around 2:30pm. We came to know that following the previous raids at different clubs, belongings and equipment of various clubs have been brought to these clubs,” he said. Anwar Hossain said they also recovered 1000 coins which were used for gambling at casino.
“However, none was arrested in this connection. In the face of massive hunt, the people involved in operating gambling rings or casinos, went into hiding,” he said. On the other hand, all superintendents of police have been asked to intensify drive against those involved in the running gambling rings or casinos across the country.
As per police headquarters directives, authorities concerned have already started making lists of all illegal gambling spots and people involved in running the illegal business at remote villages, unions, thanas, upazilas, districts and metropolitan cities. Besides, all deputy commissioners have also been issued directives to identify the gambling spots and destroy those immediately.
When contacted, Police Headquarters’ Assistant Inspector General (media) Sohel Rana on Sunday said police have been ordered to go tough on gambling, drugs and firearms. “Our drive against casino is now on. Those who will be found guilty will be brought under trial, no matter how much influential they are,” he told Bangladesh Post.
Replying to a query, Sohel Rana also said if any member of law enforcement agencies found neglecting duty or involvement in this connection, legal action will also be taken against them. According to intelligence sources, different organised gangs and a section of influential people have been running illegal gambling operations for a long time at different villages, huts, garden houses and other places of the districts surrounding capital Dhaka under the very nose of the authorities concerned and police.
And these people continued taking away everything from the people through running gambling rings or casino. In this regard, the people involved in running the gambling rings or casinos, have a strong nexus with the influential political leaders and high ups of the law enforcement agencies.
These organised thugs also used to pay huge toll to the influential political leaders and high ups of law enforcement agencies regularly to run their business. Talking to reporters on Sunday Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal termed running casino in Bangladesh as illegal, saying none would be allowed in the country to run casino here.
“No matter whatever they might or how much influential they are, none will be spared. As per Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directive we will do everything in order to root out all criminal activities from the country,” he told reporters after attending a programme at Manik Miah Avenue in the city.
He also said those who gamble at the casinos also take drugs. “So, if the casinos are stopped, drug abuse will also be stopped,” he said. Earlier on Friday the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested Golam Kibria Shamim along with his seven bodyguards on charge of drug abuse, money-laundering and keeping illegal arms.
Shamim is known as an influential contractor of Sabujbagh, Basabo and Motijheel areas of the capital. RAB also seized Tk 165 crore Fixed Deposit Receipt (FDR) and Tk 1.8 crore in cash and foreign currencies during the drive. He said the seized money was obtained illegally by Shamim as there are allegations of extortion and tender manipulation against him.
Besides, on Friday, RAB also arrested five people, including Safiqul Alam, and recovered a pistol and Yaba pills from the Kalabagan Krira Chakra club office in Kalabagan area. During the raid, Rab said, they also recovered coins used in gambling, 572 packets of cards and bullets. On Wednesday, Rab arrested Jubo League leader Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan from Gulshan for reportedly running an illegal casino.
Apart from them in Kushtia, police also arrested two leaders of Jubo League’s Kushtia Sadar upazila unit in an extortion case on Friday night.
The men were identified as Jubo League General Secretary Mijanur Rahman Miju, 36, and Kushtia town unit convener Ashraful Sujon, 40. They were accused in an extortion case filed by a local businessman at the Kushtia Islamic University Police Station.