RAB says ‘Golden Monir’ turned into real estate ‘mafia boss’ from ‘gold smuggler’

  • Liton Haider, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-11-22 01:52:34 BdST

Monir Hossain, popularly known as ‘Golden Monir’, became the talk of the town after his arrest by the Rapid Action Battalion and seizure of huge amount of cash during a drive on his home in Dhaka’s Merul Badda.

The name ‘Golden Monir’ derives from “his jewellery business”, but Bangladesh Jewellers Samity or Bajus refuses to accept him as a member of their community.

The RAB also said Monir was not a jeweller. He had been involved in gold smuggling and later got into real estate business.

The law enforcers described how Monir made a fortune as a “mafia boss” in the real estate business after starting his career as a trader of “gamchha”, or traditional towel.

The RAB hinted at his involvement with the BNP as well.

A team of the RAB-3 launched the overnight drive on Monir’s six-storey home on Friday midnight.

Farzana Haque, an assistant superintendent of police working as operations officer at RAB-3, said they seized Tk 19 million in cash, including Tk 900,000 in foreign currencies, four litres of illegal liquor, eight kilograms of gold ornaments, a foreign pistol and several rounds of bullet.

RAB seized a large cache of gold, liquor, Tk 19 million in cash and a pistol with a few rounds of ammunition during a raid on the home of Monir Hossain, a gold trader locally known as 'Golden Monir', Nov 21, 2020.

RAB seized a large cache of gold, liquor, Tk 19 million in cash and a pistol with a few rounds of ammunition during a raid on the home of Monir Hossain, a gold trader locally known as 'Golden Monir', Nov 21, 2020.

In a media briefing later, RAB spokesman Ashique Billah said they have found assets on Monir worth "tens of millions of takas".

Monir’s son Rafi Hossain, however, claimed his father is innocent and made fortune from legal business.

Monir’s arrest came before his scheduled tour to Dubai for a health check-up, said Rafi.

FROM ‘GAMCHHA’ TO GOLD

Monir’s father Siraj Mia from Keraniganj was a “gamchha” vendor in Dhaka’s New Market area, according to the RAB.

Monir grew up in his grandfather’s home in Badda and studied up to grade 10, said Lt Col Rakibul Hasan, the commander of RAB-3.

He began his career in business as a “gamchha” trader as well, but later began supplying clothe to different shops from Moulvibazar.

He expanded his business and began travelling to Singapore and Bangkok. Later, he switched to luggage business and began smuggling gold.

“Monir is being described as a jeweller, which is an affront to genuine jewellers of the country. The said Monir is not a jeweller,” Bajus said in a statement.

The RAB’s Rakibul said Monir indeed had a jewellery shop at New Market. “But he became known as Golden Monir for smuggling gold. He stopped gold smuggling gradually after 2001 and focused on real estate business,” Rakibul said.

FROM GOLD TO LAND

Monir shifted the focus of his business to investment in land when he became close to officials of the Public Works Department and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha after the BNP came to power in 2001, said a RAB official.

“He also became close to a minister and did not have to look back,” the official said.

Monir owned more than 200 plots in Dhaka and adjacent areas in two decades, according to the RAB officials.

RAB conducted an overnight raid on the six-storey house of Monir Hossain, a gold trader locally known as 'Golden Monir', in the capital's Merul Badda, Nov 21, 2020

Rakibul said they launched the drive on information that he had illegally secured plots and flats.

Monir admitted to owning 35 plots in the initial interrogation, said the RAB officials.

Another RAB official said Monir had once opened an office of his real estate business at an extended building of RAJUK and began forging documents or influencing land deals.

In February last year, the RAJUK conducted a drive on Monir’s office and seized 70 documents that had been stolen from the office of the capital’s development authority.

 Monir was on bail in a case over the theft of the documents.

The RAB also said he was charged under the Special Powers Act in 2007, but could not provide further details.

Besides the cash and jewellery, the RAB found sealed papers of several RAJUK and government officials that were not supposed to be with him.

“He was a mafia boss in illegal real estate business,” Rakibul said.

Monir also has a car showroom named Car Selection on Pragati Sarani.