- Samrat was arrested along with his close associate Arman from Cumilla's Chauddagram early today.
- He was about to flee the country crossing Cumilla border.
- RAB brought him back to Dhaka.
- Jubo League has suspended Samrat and Arman from the organisation.
After more than two weeks of nationwide drive began against illegal gambling and casinos, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) finally managed to arrest casino kingpin Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat, the president of Dhaka City South Jubo League.
The elite force detained him from Cumilla's Chauddagram at around 5am Sunday, Sarwar Bin Kashem, RAB Legal and Media wing director, confirmed the matter to The Business Standard.
Samrat tried to flee the country via Cumilla border, RAB intelligence source said. He took position at a house in Chauddagram before making the move to escape.
One of Samrat's cohort - Arman - was also arrested during the drive. Samrat was taken to RAB headquarters afterwards.
RAB members started raiding Samrat's office at Kakrail's Bhuiyan Mansion at 1:40pm.
Meanwhile, Jubo League Central Committee has suspended Samrat and Arman on allegations of violating discipline of the Awami League's front organisation.
As per Intelligence sources, being the Dhaka south city unit Jubo League president, Samrat took control of Dhaka's underworld, earned millions controlling illegal gamblings, casinos, extortion and tender manipulation.
Starting out as a Chhatra League leader in 1990, Samrat's duty back then was to organise protests in different parts of the capital, aimed at ousting HM Ershad from power. He was later jailed and tortured for his role in the movement.
In 1991 Samrat joined the Jubo League, where Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shawon, the then city unit president of the front played a key role in his rise to power.
Samrat became an influential leader during the 1996-2001 tenure of the Awami League government, and retained his position as a top leader during the 1/11 changeover.
Later in 2008, when Awami League was voted to power again after the tenure of the caretaker government, Samrat continued his rise through the ranks, ending up as the Dhaka south city unit Jubo League president at its sixth council on July 14, 2012.
According to intelligence sources, a complaint letter was sent to the Prime Minister's Office around two months ago, claiming that extortion, tender manipulation and the drug trade could not be controlled in Dhaka because of Samrat and his cohorts. Immediate action was sought to that effect.
That action came earlier this month when Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on September 18, raided illegal casinos being run out of sporting clubs in Dhaka.
Samrat is reported to have been the main mastermind of Dhaka's gambling scene, and therefore, a key suspect.
Earlier, on the night of the initial crackdown, Samrat hid himself in his office at Kakrail's Bhuiyan Mansion. He was initially being guarded by hundreds of Jubo League activists, who had cordoned off the building.
Later, at around 3-3:30 am on September 22, he left his office in a black vehicle, said an official of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Ramna division.
Intelligence sources said, Samrat then took shelter at an influential politician's residence to delay his arrest as long as possible.
On September 28, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said only RAB has been given the responsibility of conducting anti-casino operations to avoid harassment of the common people.
He further said that it does not matter who Samrat is and he will be treated as per the laws.