Vijaya Laxmi Tripura
A second-in-command of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Tarique Rahman is in extreme fear of being exposed as one of the key recipients of money from the illegal casinos in the country. It is further learnt that Tarique was receiving two crores takas per month only from Ismail Chowdhury Samrat, a controversial leader of the youth front of Awami League. Samrat’s name came to the limelight when the law enforcing agencies went into massive crackdown on the illegal casinos.
A decade after Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League party came to power, the country’s law enforcement agencies, at the instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had launched a crackdown this month on illegal casinos allegedly run by ruling party figures.
Law enforcement agencies reportedly prepared a list of some 60 casinos in the capital Dhaka that enjoy a transaction volume of 1.2 billion Bangladeshi taka ($14 million) a night.
After growing silently but with the apparent knowledge and patronage of powerful quarters, the casinos — mostly in Dhaka — would likely outnumber the ones operated in a city of another country where casinos are not illegal
The sudden drive against the casinos starting on September 18 caught off guard the leaders of the ruling party’s youth front, the Jubo League, said to be operating the casinos under the coverage of some popular sports clubs. A few were arrested and others remain at large.
The drive against casinos was preceded on Sept. 14 by the removal of the president and the general secretary of the ruling party’s student wing, the Chhatra League, allegedly for demanding commission from a 10 billion taka ($122 million) development project at a public university.
One of those who were detained during the drive is AG Shamim, the man who moved with private bodyguards, and allegedly had 18 million taka ($213,000) in cash and documents for bank deposits worth 1.65 billion taka ($19.5 million) in his possession during the raid at his house. A ruling party member of parliament was also named as one of the beneficiaries of the casino club who allegedly received 1.8 billion taka ($21.2 million) but the police officer who made allegation was later withdrawn from his assigned workplace.
How enemies of Awami League planted its cadres inside it?
For years, members of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat e Islami (JeI), and even some banned outfits were pushing their cadres inside the ruling Awami League and its front organizations by bribing some of the key leaders. One of the top patrons of such infiltration was a top figure in Jubo League, who had in reality turned into a mafia don of the illegal casinos, extortions and other illegal activities. Although Jubo League leader Ismail Chowdhury Samrat is branded as “Casino Samrat” or “Casino Don”, in reality, the godfather of all of such illegal activities was the top leader of the youth front of the ruling party.
Even when the members of the law enforcing agencies were keeping eyes of Ismail Chowdhury Samrat, he secretly went into the residence of that controversial leader and offered him a huge amount of money in exchange of helping Samrat in fleeing the country.
Tarique Rahman worried
Ever since the arrest of Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan, a former cadre of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, who had successfully infiltrated inside the youth front of Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Tarique Rahman has been in extreme tense as he was receiving a monthly payment from Khalid as well as Ismail Chowdhury Samrat. According to sources, Tarique has been repeatedly checking from his contacts in Dhaka to know if Khalid has given any confessional statement.