Journalist ‘held, released hours after’ | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 23, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:04 AM, September 23, 2019

Illegal Online Gambling

Journalist ‘held, released hours after’

The immediate former DMP commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia allegedly asked Paltan police to release a former reporter of a television channel in February last year after police arrested him for running an online gambling racket.

He used to run a so-called computer club called Crystal 186 on two floors of Amit Pritom Jaman Tower in Purana Paltan.

A team of Paltan police raided the 14th and 15th floors of the tower on February 17 after a tip-off and found people gambling online there.

Paltan Police Station Officer-in-Charge Mahbubul Haque filed a general diary in this regard and shut down the entire operation.

They arrested journalist Mahbubul Alam, but released him following a call from Asaduzzaman, sources said. 

The tip-off also mentioned that four Chinese-born Malaysians were appointed to look after the gambling in disguise of online games being run by one Delwar Hossain and Mahbubul.

Asked about the matter last night, Asaduzzaman Mia, who is now the chief executive officer of the National Security Affairs Cell, said, “I cannot recall any journalist operating any ‘casino’….”

He, however, said Mahbubul once came to him for permission to run a center to operate an online gambling game, but Asaduzzaman reprimanded him and asked how could a journalist run something illegal.

On whether Mahbubul was later arrested, the former DMP chief said he was not aware of the matter.

Contacted, Mahbubul said he invested money as Delwar told him that he would run an online shop and bring staffers from Malaysia for the purpose.

“I was totally in the dark that they in guise of the online shop were running a gambling racket,” he said, adding that he had also filed a general diary in this regard and parted ways with Delwar.

To bolster his case, the ex-DMP commissioner said following information from an intelligence agency that Jubo League leader Ismail Chowdhury Samrat and his men were running a “casino” renting floors at a 24-storey tower in Motijheel, he conducted mobile court drive and sealed off the casino.

“Later, many influential quarters started lobbying to open the casino… They wanted to have me fired,” he said. “But I stood firm and said no I will not allow the casino.”

He also claimed that in 2017 he shut down gambling operations in Kalabagan Krira Chakra and another one in Gulshan.

He claimed that the only information they had was of people playing cards, which was something that had been going on since the 80s. “But, me, the IGP and the home minister did not have any knowledge that it turned into casinos and Nepalese were brought in to run them,” he added.

Asked about a possible police link to the “casinos”, he said, “Now, the accused are arrested. Glean information from them…[about] who else are involved and who are the beneficiaries. Whoever they are, be it me, my superior or subordinates, unveil them and bring them to book.”

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