In the densely populated Old Dhaka, Lane-1 of Lalmohon Saha Street has recently earned its own reputation, as the arrested "casino brothers" Enamul Haque Enu and Rupon Bhuiyan have 33 flats in that otherwise inconspicuous alley.
Besides the 33 flats, the duo, their family and relatives own 221 flats and 30 kathas of land in Old Dhaka where such property are worth huge amounts of money.
Outside the capital, they have 39 kathas of land. They also have huge amounts of money in banks and at least five luxury vehicles.
Enu and Rupon revealed the information about their wealth and property during interrogation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police when the two were taken into remand recently, sources close to the interrogators said.
The Daily Star, however, could not independently verify the information.
The sources said the two brothers own all the property, but registered some of those under other family members' names.
But in 2005, they owned almost nothing, except for a small lathe machine workshop on Nawabpur Road in the old town, locals said.
Their immense amount of wealth came from illegal gambling and casino business.
On January 26, this correspondent went to Lane-1 on Lalmohon Saha Street to verify whether the brothers own such a large number of buildings, apartments and plots.
While walking inside the dark narrow lane, this correspondent asked at least five locals about Enu and Rupon. All of them first wanted to know the identity of this correspondent and then gave the same answer -- "I know nothing."
Enamul Haque Enu and his younger brother Rupon Bhuiyan, both directors of Wanderer's Club and former Awami League leaders of the party's Gendaria thana unit, however, are well-known in the locality. They used to move in the area with six to seven men carrying firearms, locals said earlier.
Enu, vice-president of AL's Gendaria thana unit, and Rupon, its joint general secretary, were sacked from the party after the anti-casino crackdown began on September 18 last year.
This correspondent also visited a holding at South Moysundi in Wari, where Enu and Rupon constructed a six-storey building just a year ago. Though the building is ready for use, no one is residing there.
When this correspondent went to see the building, a woman, aged over 60, said she wanted to rent a flat, but could not as the owners are in jail.
The beginning of gambling
Enu and Rupon are among seven sons and a daughter of their parents. They grew up amid financial hardship as their father was a lower-tier service holder and the lone breadwinner of the family, the sources close to interrogators said.
During interrogation, the two brothers said during their childhood they used to visit a renowned old sporting club in Dhaka along with their father.
They used to see people gambling there, the sources added.
In 2005 or 2007, the brothers started gambling themselves. Later, they became shareholders of the casino at Dhaka Wanderers Club. The club was raided on the first day of the crackdown.
They hired casino experts from Nepal and started to earn huge amounts of money, said a CID officer who had interrogated the two brothers after their arrest on January 13 from a hideout in Keraniganj.
They were on the run after a Rab team raided three houses at Banianagar and Narinda in Old Dhaka on September 24 and found Tk 5.05 crore in cash, around 8.5kgs of gold worth Tk 4 crore, and six firearms.
They allegedly used their firearms to terrorise people in the area.
Enu and Rupon had been living in the Keraniganj hideout after failing to flee the country with fake passports.
As the brothers thought depositing their money in banks was not safe, they preferred to keep them hidden in five vaults. Enamul bought the gold as the five vaults had no more room to keep the proceeds from the casino operation, Rab said earlier.
The two brothers have been accused in at least five cases on different charges, including money laundering and graft. On October 23, the Anti-Corruption Commission filed two separate cases against Enu and Rupon for amassing Tk 35 crore beyond known sources of income.