The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) on Monday arrested two people for involvement in smuggling-in liquor, cigarettes and photocopier machines in 2017 illegally, depriving the government of taxes and duties worth Tk1,197 crore.
The duo – Didarul Alam Titu and Kabir Hossain – were arrested from a building in the Bijoynagar area of Dhaka, CIID Director General Md Shahidul Islam told a press conference at his office on Monday evening.
Three name-only enterprises were used to smuggle-in these items.
How the crime took place
Didarul Alam Titu, a real estate businessman owning a company named Mirror Development, had opened three name-only enterprises – Ms Agro BD & JP, Henan Anhui Agro LC, and Hebra Branco.
The enterprises declared that they will import capital machinery for poultry feed in 121 containers. But they actually brought in alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and photocopier machines, which are subject to high import and supplementary duties in Bangladesh.
The government imposes low import duties for capital machinery to encourage industrial growth in the country. The importers falsely declared capital machinery to enjoy the benefits.
Didarul Alam Titu is primarily responsible for the crimes, and his computer analyst Kabir Hossain was involved in faking documents, said Abdullah Al Mamun, an assistant director of the CIID.
The importers used bank accounts in the Paltan and Shantinagar branches of IFIC Bank.
The CIID has also filed cases against one of Titu's staff members named Abdul Motaleb, and the three name-only enterprises.
Customs intelligence is investigating the matter further, said the CIID assistant director.
Cases against them
On November 27, 2017, the CIID filed a case at the Paltan police station in Dhaka based on information that 12 seized containers had been used for smuggling-in liquor, cigarettes and photocopier machines.
Later, the customs intelligence investigators discovered that the three enterprises had smuggled these items in the 121 containers and tried to dodged Tk1,197crore in government duties.
After a long investigation, the CIID filed 13 more cases last month at the Paltan police station.
The Chattogram Customs House too filed a separate case at the Chattogram Port police station in August accusing Titu' computer analyst Kabir Hossain.
CIID filed 78 cases claiming over TK3,200 crore
The CIID filed its first case in 2017. Now 78 cases have been filed over such issues till Monday. The total amount of claimed duties and taxes are over Tk3,200 crore.
Of the 78 cases, 21 have been handed over to the police's Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation. The investigation of the remaining ones by the CIID is approaching completion.
The CIID director general hopes that they will soon be able to submit the charge sheets in some of the cases under their investigation.