The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has filed a money laundering case against Lakshmipur lawmaker Kazi Shahid Islam Papul and his accomplices, including family members, for siphoning off Tk38.22 crore.
Detectives suspect that Papul and his accomplices transacted over Tk355 crore – mainly through human trafficking. The amount was transacted between 2016 and 2020, using more than 500 bank accounts. Now only Tk1.30 crore is available in these accounts.
The CID has found concrete evidence of Tk38.22 crore laundered by Papul and is working to trace the flow of the rest of the money, it says in the case statement filed on Tuesday with Paltan police station against Papul and his accomplices.
Other accused in the case are Papul's daughter Wafa Islam, his brother Kazi Badrul Alam, sister-in-law Jesmin Pradhan, and his accomplices Sadikur Rahman and Job Bank International's manager Golam Mostafa.
Two overseas employment agencies JW Lilabali and Job Bank International – both owned by Papul's family – were also made accused in the case.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Al-Amin Hossain of the CID's Financial Crime unit filed the money laundering case.
Rise of Papul
Sources said Papul was not known to the people of his constituency before 2016. He came to limelight just two years before the 11th national parliamentary election in 2018.
Just within two years, he took part in the national election without any political background by dint of his easily earned money.
He was then elected as an independent lawmaker with the support of the local Awami League leaders.
He allegedly made Mohammad Noman, candidate from the Awami League's ally Jatiya Party, inactive during the election. It has been alleged that in exchange of money local ruling party leaders and the Japa candidate himself supported him in the election.
Papul did not stop at becoming a lawmaker, he later made his wife a lawmaker from the reserved seats using his power, successfully managing support of the alliance of independent lawmakers.
Papul, after being arrested on 6 June last, is now facing trial in Kuwait on charges of human-trafficking, money laundering, visa trade and bribing the Kuwaiti officials. He is currently in jail in Kuwait awaiting a verdict scheduled on 28 January.
Papul-owned Marafie Kuwaitia Company in Kuwait was shut down also by the authorities there.
Locals said that he went to Kuwait in 1989 with a job as a supervisor of a cleaning company. He returned to Iraq in 1990, after the Kuwait war.
Later, Papul again came back to the Middle Eastern country and his elder brother Kazi Manjurul Alam assisted him to build his empire. Within decades, from a mere supervisor, he turned into a millionaire through human trafficking racket and illegal visa trade.
However, about the case, CID ASP Al-Amin Hossain said Papul's accomplices took Tk5-Tk7 lakh from each victim in the name of providing overseas jobs.
CID will now try to trace the flow of the whole amount of money siphoned abroad, said the ASP.
Rubel Haq, a victim of Papul's human trafficking, said that he paid Tk5 lakh which he earned from job in the country. "But I was among 10 people who were sent back by Kuwait authorities."
This is the first case CID filed against Papul, his family members and accomplices.
Earlier, a Kuwait-returnee victim Abdul Alim filed a human trafficking case against Papul with Motijheel police station on July 7.
HC orders Papul's wife, daughter to surrender by 28 Dec
Meanwhile, the High Court Tuesday ordered Papul's wife and reserved women's seat MP Salina Islam, and their daughter Wafa Islam to surrender before the court by 28 December, in a case filed by ACC.
ACC filed the case on November 11, against Papul, his wife, daughter and sister-in-law for laundering Tk148 crore.
A virtual HC bench consisting of Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Ahmed Sohail passed the order.
Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin said earlier on 10 December the HC ordered Salina Islam and Wafa Islam to surrender within 10 days in a case over illegal acquisition of wealth and money laundering. After that order, when the accused went to lower court, confusion rose over whether it will be during the or after the court vacation.
The two then approached HC on Tuesday seeking a new date for their surrender. After informing the court about the matter, the HC postponed the date and ordered them to surrender by December 28.
On the same day (December 10), The HC also summoned Deputy Director of Bangladesh Bank Arefin Ahsan Mia over his submitted report stating that the allegation of money laundering against Papul's wife and daughter had not been proved.
The HC asked him to appear in person at the court on 4 January to explain the matter. The court has also issued a rule in this regard.