Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday warned that action will be taken if anyone in the administration is found involved in assisting or controlling unauthorised casinos.
The minister came up with the remarks when journalists asked him whether some police officers knew about the casino operation but did not take any action or whether it was an intelligence failure that police did not have such information. He was also asked that had the police officers known about it what kind of action they may face.
Kamal said, “We conducted drives against casinos based on intelligence information. People in the administration will be tried if they are involved with casinos.”
Not only casinos, any business entity running without government permission would face action, he said, talking to the press at his secretariat office. “We give licenses for running bars. Similarly, government approval is needed to run casinos. As the casinos did not have permission, the law enforcers conducted the drive.”
When asked why there was an abrupt crackdown, he said, “We have intelligence information about unauthorised casinos, so we carried out the raid.”
Asked about the “delayed” drive, the minister said they took action as soon as they got the information.
Claiming that they conducted such drives in the past, Kamal said they earlier sealed offtwo such clubs in Kalabagan and Karwan Bazar areas in Dhaka. “We have to verify information when it comes to us,” he said.
Asked about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives, the minister said, “The prime minister’s instruction is clear -- anyone acting against the law will face trial. We are following her zero tolerance policy against terrorism, militancy and drug abuse.”
Soon after the raid, the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested Organising Secretary of Jubo League’s Dhaka South unit Khalid Mahmud Bhuiyan at his Gulshan home, for running a “casino” at a football club in the capital’s Fakirerpool.
When asked about Khalid’s alleged torture cell, the minister said, “I heard about that. Action will be taken following investigation.”
When his attention was drawn to the fact that Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon is the chairman of Youngmen’s Club where the Jubo League leader ran the “casino”, the home minister said, “To find who is involved in the business is a matter of investigation. Then we can say something in this regard.”
After the raid at Youngmen’s Club, Jubo League Chairman Omar Faroque Chowdhury said on Wednesday afternoon, “You [law enforcers] are saying there are 60 casinos in Dhaka. What were you doing all this time? If that is true, police personnel of the police stations concerned and Rab personnel of the Rab units concerned should be arrested.”
The Jubo League chief also said, “I’ve never seen a casino... I’d love to see one. If you want to arrest me, then arrest me... But you [law enforcers] have given tacit approval to these casinos.”
When asked about this statement, the minister did not give any reply, and said, “It is his own remark.”