The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police is looking for the younger brother of lawmaker Kazi Md Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul over human trafficking allegations.
The name of Papul's younger brother Kazi Mohammed Badrul Alam alias Liton Chowdhury came out in a confessional statement in a trafficking case. According to the statement made under 164 of the Penal Code, Liton Chowdhury trafficked around 1,574 Bangladeshis to oil-enriched Gulf country Kuwait by his recruiting agency named Job Bank International.
Police said Liton Chowdhury is now on the run.
According to media reports, Papul was arrested in Kuwait on June 6 on charges of human trafficking and money laundering. Later, he gave striking admissions over human trafficking, money laundering and giving bribes to Kuwait lawmakers, which stirred both Kuwaiti and Bangladeshi political arenas.
After being deported to Bangladesh, a victim of Papul's deception sued the lawmaker and his associates in Bangladesh, and the CID is now investigating the case. Liton Chowdhury's accountant Md Golam Mostafa got arrested in the case and gave confessional statement before a court on August 24.
Wishing anonymity, a CID official told The Business Standard that they were looking for Liton Chowdhury's whereabouts.
"As he has been named in the confessional statement, we will bring him to book for sure," the official added.
Referring to the confessional statement, court sources said Papul and Liton Chowdhury used to jointly run the agency in Dhaka's Moghbazar area, which was found shuttered on Friday.
The accountant also confessed that Liton Chowdhury instructed him to lure people from several regions of the country to send them abroad.
"Accountant Golam Mostafa's middlemen then would gather hundreds of people to send them to Kuwait – offering a dream of betters jobs with lucrative salaries. But their dreams later turned into nightmare as they could not get promised job or salary," the confessional statement read.
"Liton Chowdhury used to take Tk5-7 lakh per person to send them to Kuwait. Visa processing and air tickets for them would be done by another travel agency in Dhaka's Fakirapul area then," the confessional statement stated.
Golam Mostafa also confessed that the money received from the aspiring expatriates had been sent to Papul and his brother Liton Chowdhury.
"We often had to send them cash. The money was deposited to their bank accounts too," the accountant confessed before the court.
Kurigram farmer Md Rubel Haque is one of the victims of Liton Chowdhury's misdeeds. He gave Tk5 lakh to the agency as he was lured to better life in Kuwait.
However, he had been deported from Kuwait in June this year. Like him, nearly 100 workers who went to Kuwait by Papul or his brother's agency were sent back to Bangladesh followed by the arrest of the Bangladeshi lawmaker in that country.
Papul is now in the Kuwait central prison on human trafficking charges being investigated by the public prosecution department of Kuwait. He also faced similar charges at home.
'Chain method' to smoothly continue the misdeeds
There was a chain from luring targets in districts to sending them to Kuwait, and the members of the chain acting as separate links were not familiar with each other, said the CID.
For instance, one Taiyeb was tasked to look after the aspiring expatriates since neither accountant Golam Mostafa nor Liton Chowdhury would turn up before the people to be sent abroad.
From Liton Chowdhury's organization, another agency named "Best Travel" would then process the documents. Best Travel's Monir would do the paperwork.
Police said organised criminals are used to adopting the method as the main perpetrator can avoid any attempt to get captured by cutting a few links of the chain. People belonging to the chain work for a specific purpose but they do not know each other.
CID Deputy Inspector General (organized crime) Imtiaz Ahmed said their progress in the case was satisfactory. "We have arrested a few culprits and one of them confessed to Liton's involvement in human trafficking."
He said they had found involvements of a few others in Papul's human trafficking racket.
The CID investigation is focusing on 10 accused named in the case and four others that the arrestees mentioned during interrogations.
"The investigation continues revealing other names. None will be spared," he added.