The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is now on the hunt for a vested group allegedly running mini casinos in Mirpur area of Dhaka, after shutting down such an illegal establishment in Ashulia area on Saturday night.
Addressing a media briefing at the RAB-4 headquarters in Mirpur on Sunday, its Commanding Officer Md Mozammel Haque said, "We have got information that some people are running illegal mini casinos under the guise of carom and gambling dens in the area.
"We will soon launch drives there too."
On Saturday, a RAB team busted an illegal mini casino in Ashulia – located on the outskirts of Dhaka. The illegal establishment was found after more than a year since law enforcers conducted a series of drives against illicit gambling dens and casinos across the country.
Acting on a tip off, the team – led by Executive Magistrate Anisur Rahman – detained 21 people while they were gambling at the casino in the Kaichabari area.
RAB also seized one electronic casino board imported from Malaysia, 100 yaba tablets, 12 cans of beer, 22 mobile phones and Tk38,000 in cash during the four-hour drive.
Providing more details, Mozammel Haque, who also serves as an additional deputy inspector general of police, said, "More than 300 gamblers used to visit this casino every night and play for around Tk10-15 lakh."
"Mostly low-income people used to play in this mini casino. Many of them had lost their daily income due to gambling addiction."
RAB sources told The Business Standard that those detained in the drive in Ashulia have revealed more information during a preliminary interrogation, indicating the presence of more mini casinos in Mirpur.
The detainees also told the RAB that illegal gambling had been going on at the casino in Ashulia for one and a half years.
RAB is still trying to track down the casino owners – identified as Plabon Hossain and Omar Farooq, as they could not be detained during Saturday's drive. The elite force of police has sealed off the casino after the raid.
Responding to a query, RAB-4 Deputy Director Sazedul Islam Shuvro said, "We already conducted a drive at the residences of the duo who were allegedly behind the illegal casino operation in Ashulia."
A number of illicit gambling operations came to light after the RAB, on 18 September last year, uncovered illegal casino businesses during raids in some sporting clubs in Motijheel and other parts of the capital.
Since then, RAB and police forces have raided different clubs across Bangladesh and busted several illegal casinos. A number of people, including Jubo League leaders and ruling party men, have been detained and then arrested after the raids.
All the casino kingpins, who had been arrested over running illegal casinos at several sports clubs in the capital last year, are now waiting to face trials in the cases lodged against them.
The RAB, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police have filed 56 cases in connection with these illegal casino businesses.
Among these, the RAB and the CID have submitted charge-sheets in 19 cases so far but the ACC has not submitted any yet.