Former Jubo League leader Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat may be out of the prison as early as Thursday this week, which happens to be the "Pahela Baishakh" – the first day of the Bengali new year.
The ex-ruling party's youth wing leader, who came to the spotlight in 2019 for allegedly establishing a massive illegal gambling racket, now needs bail in an anti-graft case. Samrat was already granted bail in three cases over illegal arms, money laundering and narcotics charges on Sunday and Monday.
"He [Samrat] has been granted bail in three different cases and now waiting for the last one lodged by the Anti-Corruption Commission. If the court grants him bail in the case on Wednesday, he will be able to walk free," Ehsanul Haque Samaji, lawyer for Samrat, told The Business Standard Monday.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) busted the illegal gambling businesses set up by Samrat, the then president of Jubo League's Dhaka South unit, at several spots in Dhaka in 2019.
Later, RAB raided his office in Dhaka's Kakrail and recovered a pistol, 1,160 yaba pills, 19 bottles of foreign liquor, two kangaroo skins and electric equipment to torture people.
Samrat subsequently went into hiding before being arrested in Cumilla on 6 October that year. He was expelled from the party following his arrest.
A total of four cases were filed against Samrat as the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was tasked to investigate the money laundering charges.
Mehedi Maksud, CID inspector and also the investigation officer of the money laundering case, on Sunday sought a four-day remand to quiz Samrat. However, the court scrapped the remand plea and granted bail to Samrat.
In condition of anonymity, CID officials said Samrat siphoned off around Tk195 crores to Malaysia and Singapore. The CID in 2020 sought several mutual legal assistance requests to the countries, but none of them replied yet.
Since the countries did not provide the investigators with information about the laundered money, the CID sought Samrat in its custody for quizzing.
The CID is yet to submit the charge sheet in the case. Now with the bail granted in the case, CID investigation officer Mehedi Maksud refused to make any comment.
Another case faces similar issue
Another money laundering case against expelled Dhaka Metropolitan South Jubo League Organizing Secretary Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan also faces a struggle as the foreign countries did not reply to the investigators.
Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan was arrested in 2019 during the anti-casino raid in Dhaka. As the arrest took the lid off Bhuiyan's checkered past, he was expelled from the party.
Investigators claimed Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan had laundered Tk8.5 crore to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.
The CID is yet to submit the charge sheet in this case too.
In another money laundering case against Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, CID submitted the charge-sheet mentioning around Tk18 lakh recovery and freezing another Tk39 crore. He was also accused of buying three flats and two luxurious cars with illegally amassed money.
Besides, the CID in another charge-sheet against Bhuiyan mentioned recovering foreign currencies worth around Tk7.64 lakh.
Of the 13 money laundering cases filed against the casino suspects arrested during the coordinated raids in 2019, the CID so far has submitted charge-sheets in 10 cases.
Most of the accused were involved in ruling party politics. They include casino brothers Enamul Haque Enu and Rupon Bhuyian, controversial contractor SM Golam Kibrian Shamim alias GK Shamim, Abul Kalam Azad, Azad Rahman, online casino kingpin Selim Pradhan and former Mohammedan Sporting Club general secretary Lokman Hossain.
Humayun Kabir, special superintendent of police of CID's financial crime unit, told TBS that they might get information from the foreign nations through the mutual legal assistance arrangements.
"Once we get the details, we will be able to submit the charge-sheet in the remaining two cases against Samrat and Bhuiyan," he added.