After the arrest of the then Jubo League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan in September 2019, the news of the bustling casino business in the capital city of Dhaka came to light. One after another it was revealed how the casinos of the United States have firmly established themselves in our country.
Casino can be called a gambling place in Bengali. In 1931, when gambling was legalized in Nevada, the first casino was built there. Casinos gradually became popular in America because of the brightly colored gambling boards, provision of drinks and the guarantee of non-nuisance. How did that casino come to Bangladesh?
Gambling is illegal in the country under existing laws. The countrymen were shocked when the news came out that the illegal activities were going on with a strong foothold in the very capital of the country. At that time, Ismail Chowdhury Samrat, contractor GK Shamim, Kalabagan Sports Club President Shafiqul Alam Feroze, Dhaka Wanderers Club Enamul Haque Arman, Enamul Haque Enu and Rupon Bhuiyan, Online Casino Karbari Salim Pradhan, Councilor Tarekuzzaman Rajeev, Councilor Habibur were arrested one by one. Rahman Mizan aka Pagla Mizan Rajeev, Emperor’s aide Zakir Hossain, Moinul Haque Manju, Casino Karbari Aktaruzzaman, Rokon Mia, Saiful Islam of Wanderers Club, Tuhin Munshi and Nabir Hossain. 49 anti-casino operations were conducted in the country. RAB raided 32 of them and police raided 17. 280 people were arrested in these incidents.
The ruling Awami League received much praise during the anti-casino campaign. This campaign was called as ‘Shuddhi Abhiyan’ inside and outside the Awami League. At the time, however, family members and supporters of those arrested in the operation began to say that the operation was mainly to resolve factional conflicts and redress the balance of power within the party. Then by analyzing the published news and looking at recovery of money, type of cases and effectiveness of cases, a more clear idea can be obtained.
On September 18, the news headlined ‘Casinokander Hotara Ek Ek Muktu Haun’, published on the same day, brought several more questions to the fore. It has been three years since the nationwide casino scandal. According to the news published at the same time, those arrested as the ‘hosts’ of the casino scandal are coming out on bail one by one. In the meantime, expelled Jubo League leaders Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat and Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan have been released on bail. Others in jail continue to seek bail.
After various levels of leaders of the ruling party were arrested in an anti-casino operation around the capital’s Clubpara, many people took cover to avoid arrest. Now many fugitives have returned. Many have opened online casino and gambling business.
Now after three years, why are the emperors and Khaleds involved in the casino scandal being bailed? Again as an arrest, this time the emperor spent most of his time in the hospital. At that time it was said that the seriously ill emperor needed treatment. So he was kept in hospital instead of jail. But after getting bail, the emperor was seen in his previous form after coming out of the jail (prison cell of the hospital). After getting bail in all cases, the expelled president of Dhaka Metropolitan Jubo League South Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat left Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital on August 26. As soon as he came out in public, he did a large-scale exercise on the streets with his team. Then on the night of September 1, Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, a close associate of the emperor, was released.
In this long time, no case against the Emperor and Khaled has been prosecuted. So why are they being released now after three years and why were they detained at that time? No leader of the ruling Awami League is opening his mouth on this issue, while any leader of the BNP who is in the street movement is making a statement, several leaders of the Awami League do not hesitate to counter-speak on the matter. Now if only their views on the bail of Samrat and Khaled could have been obtained, we could have given them a big round of applause.
What is heard in the political arena on the question of bailing out casino owners, is not at all like getting applause. When Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat was arrested, he was the top leader of Dhaka Metropolitan Jubo League. He has an influence in rallying and dominating Awami League rallies in Dhaka. Now because Awami League needs someone like Samrat in Dhaka to deal with the opposition party, is there no obstacle to his release?
It has been seen in the past that various stories have been spread in view of the political events of the country. Most of the time these stories end up being stories. And in some cases, it comes back to reality even more surprising than the story. The story of the anti-casino campaign, which has sparked debate and criticism in the country, seems far from over. Especially, this story is sure to get a new color with the release of casino owners.