The crown of ‘Samrat’ of casino and gambling has been taken away by the law enforcers. After playing cat and mouse game for days, they flushed Ismail Hossain Samrat, Jubo League Dhaka South unit's president, out of a rat hole and handcuffed him like a commoner and sent him to jail.
His corrupt empire crumbled after a brief rule of show, pomp and power. He will be tried in a court of law to answer for the crores of taka he earned illegally. He will also be charged with running illegal gambling spots in sporting clubs. And most of his so called friends and associates have fled across the borders to save their own skin.
General people have been wondering why Samrat was not being arrested yet when some of his close associates are in custody already. This led to many rumors linking some leaders of the ruling party. Finally, law enforcers have been given the green signal to catch him. The Rapid Action Battalion arrested Somrat and his associate Enamul Hoque Arman from a place in Cumilla. Both of them went into hiding when law enforcers cracked down on the illegal casino owners and operators in the capital.
The end of such corrupt elements
living under the shadow of powerful
politicians is always sad. History tells
us that they can hardly enjoy their
ill-gotten wealth for long
Samrat has been running illegal casino business allegedly under the protection of a number of bigwigs in the ruling party and allegations run rife that he went into hiding when some Jubo League kingpins were arrested and taken to police custody.
The first raid against super-corrupt political elements turned criminals was conducted on Sept 18, when RAB busted casino operations in Young Men's Club, Wanderers Club and Muktijoddha Krira Chakra in Motijheel.
Following those raids law enforcers arrested Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, organising secretary of Jubo League's Dhaka south unit, and Kalabagan Krira Chakra President and Krishak League leader Shafiqul Alam Firoz a day later.
Two days later, law enforcers arrested a godfather of government construction works named GK Shamim, who is also a Jubo League leader.
On hearing of their arrest, Samrat locked himself up in his office in Kakrail while some of his supporters kept the building under watch. For five to six days he lived in his office but at one stage, Samrat managed to get out and become traceless. The intelligence unit of RAB finally tracked him down and arrested him on Saturday midnight.
The stories of Samrat, Khaled, Shameem and Salim Pradhan are similar to the stories of the Mafia dons of Italy and USA we have read for decades. The rise and fall, their connection with both the political leaders and the underworld operators and their end are same everywhere. In most cases, politicians who give them protection and take money from them during their heydays discard them when they get arrested.
The questions that are doing rounds in the country is, who have been giving these gamblers protection for all these years? Did they get protection for free or they had to pay huge sums every month to the protectors? Names of some senior politicians have already surfaced and people wonder whether they would be questioned by the law enforcing agencies.
The end of such corrupt elements living under the shadow of powerful politicians is always sad. History tells us that they can hardly enjoy their ill-gotten wealth for long.
At one stage their wealth goes to the possession of others and often their offsprings take shelter in the streets like paupers.
Shahnoor Wahid is Advisory Editor of Bangladesh Post