ACC set for drive against casino dons

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is set to launch a massive drive against persons involved in looting people’s money through illegal casino business. According to the ACC sources, a section of influential persons, patronised by different political parties, made away with large amounts of money from people through illegal casino business in capital Dhaka, other metropolitan cities, district headquarters and other places.

Later, they laundered huge amounts of money to different foreign countries. In the primary investigation, the ACC obtained the names of 43 influential persons involved in laundering huge amounts of money abroad. ACC Chair, Iqbal Mahmood, has formed a special Investigation Cell and instructed it to quickly resolve the investigation and file complaints against accused persons on the basis of the evidence.

Meanwhile, ACC has learned from various sources of luxury flats and bank accounts in Malaysia in the name of Ismail Hossain Samrat, who participated in My Second Home in Malaysia (MM2H). ACC Secretary Muhammad Dilwar Bakht said, "We have listed a total of 43 people. Legal action will be taken against them. Based on the evidence, complaints will also be filed against them.”

However, another ACC source said, the number could rise to half a hundred, from the first listed casino list. A five-member team led by ACC Director Syed Iqbal Hossain is working on it. The other members on the team are - Deputy Director Jahangir Hossain, Md. Salahuddin, Assistant Director Mamun Chowdhury and Deputy Assistant Director Naimul Haque Ghazi. One of the ACC directors is acting as the officer in charge of the team.

It has been reported that the task of collecting all types of evidence against 43 people in the first list of the ACC is almost in the final phase. Besides, information is being collected about their financial assets. Many of them have been summoned over their bank accounts. The ACC has sent a letter to Bangladesh Bank seeking information on the number of transactions made in the last five years.

The list includes two former and current MPs of Narsingdi, one MP of Dhaka, one MP from Khulna, two former MPs of Pirojpur and Barguna, a top leader of Motijheel thana Awami League, and former president of Jubo League South. In addition, ACC sources said that the search for illegal property was being launched against several more high profiles soon.

In this regard, Iqbal Mahmud said on Monday that no one would be exempted from corruption charges including 'godfathers'. Mentioning stern action, the ACC Chairman said, “Speedy lawsuits will be initiated against those involved in the casino case. We will examine, regarding seeking wealth details before prosecuting them for illegal assets.” If the investigation results come with 'acceptable' evidence, they can be sued directly. There would be no barrier. We don't work for anyone, ACC is independent, he added.

The list includes Volunteer League convener Molla Abu Kawsar, Chattogram Whip, MP Shamsul Haque Chowdhury, Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat of Jubo League, GK Shamim, Khalid Mahmood Chowdhury, Mohdusudan Lokhi, Mohamadul Lokman, Arman, Awami League's Enamul Haque Enu and his brother Rupam Chowdhury, ward councilor Mominul Haque Saeed, Habibur Rahman Mizan alias Pagla Mizan, GK Shamim's cashier Jubo League’s Sohel, Casino Samrat Selim Pradhan, former chief engineer of public works, Rafiqul Islam, additional chief engineers Uttal Kumar De and Abdul Hai, and executive engineer Abdul Halim.