Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Kalabagan Krira Chakra President Firoz arrested in crackdown on illegal casinos

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2019-09-20 19:16:41 BdST

The Rapid Action Battalion or RAB has arrested Kalabagan Krira Chakra President Shafiqul Alam Firoz and four others in a raid on the sport club in Dhaka as part of the government's crackdown on illegal casinos.

The elite police unit said it seized foreign coins, playing cards and gambling equipment, casino-style scoreboard, a foreign-made firearm, three rounds of bullet and drugs during the operation on Friday evening.

The firearm and methamphetamine-based yaba tablets were found in Firoz’s possession, RAB-2 Commander Ashik Billah told bdnews24.com.

The others arrested with Firoz are his associates Liton Mia, Hafizur Rahman, ‘Anwar’, and ‘Harun’, the RAB officer said and added the four would face criminal charges for illegally being in possession of weapon and drugs.

“They might have moved the casino from here,” Ashik said.

After the Kalabagan club, the RAB team led by Executive Magistrate Gausul Azam raided the Dhanmondi Club in Metro Shopping Mall.

The club has a bar but the RAB found it closed.

Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kazol is president of the club.

RAB-2 Company Commander Superintendent of Police Md Shahabuddin told bdnews24.com they did not find anything illegal during the operation on the club.

“They have a licence to run the bar, but we could not check its stock as it was closed,” he said and added the RAB shut down the bar for a day, asking its authorities to provide an account of its stock.

Its president could not be reached for comments on Friday.

RAB raided Kalabagan Krira Chakra in Dhaka on Friday as part of a government crackdown on illegal casinos. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

RAB also cordoned off the Ajax Club on Elephant Road and Matsyajibi Club at Karwan Bazar in the afternoon, but Ashik said later that they were not raiding the two clubs now.

A RAB team took position next to the Kalabagan club’s ground in the afternoon when a raid on the business of SM Golam Kibria Shamim, a contractor who identifies himself as a Jubo League leader, at Niketan was ongoing.

The law enforcers had taken Firoz to the RAB-2 headquarters from the club and brought him back for the raid in the presence of the magistrate, according to Ashik.

RAB began the raid on information that there were some illegal stuff and a casino there, he earlier said.

Firoz, a member of Krishak League’s central committee and senior vice-president of manpower export association BAIRA, had tried to run for the Chandpur-5 seat in the last general election on the Awami League ticket.

Around 11am, the elite police unit began the raid on the office of Shamim, who introduces himself as a leader of the ruling Awami League’s youth front Jubo League.

They arrested the contractor, seven bodyguards, and seized about Tk 20 million in cash, Tk 1.75 billion worth of fixed-deposit savings, alcohol, and firearms.

RAB raided Kalabagan Krira Chakra in Dhaka on Friday as part of a government crackdown on illegal casinos. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

Last Wednesday, RAB raided Young Men’s Club in the capital’s Fakirapool and the home of its President and Dhaka Metropolitan Jubo League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan.

It arrested him and seized Tk 2.4 million from a casino in the club and drugs, a huge cache of foreign currencies and illegal firearms from his home at Gulshan.

It also seized a huge amount of money, counterfeit currencies, drugs and gambling equipment in raids on the Wanderers Club in Fakirapool, Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra in Gulistan and Golden Dhaka Bangladesh in Banani’s Ahmed Tower the same day.

Illegal gambling in clubs in Dhaka has been reported at different times and the issue even taken to court.

But news of clubs operating slot machines, roulette tables and other casino-style gambling equipment has come as a surprise to many in Bangladesh.

According to media reports, casinos are being operated at over 60 places in Dhaka and politically influential people are their patrons.