Nepali staffers sneaked in as RMG traders
Some of the Nepali citizens who had been working at a casino in Mohammedan Sporting Club came to Bangladesh in the guise of readymade garments traders, documents recovered from the club showed.
A company pad of an apparel factory and a buying house showed that two invitation letters were sent to the Bangladesh embassy in Kathmandu on May 6 and May 15, requesting visa issuance for six Nepali nationals for business purposes.
A salary sheet of Mohammedan Sporting Club showed that the six began working at the casino between late May and the first week of June.
The salaries of the 13 Nepalis who worked at the casino were between $600-1000, according to the salary sheet. A conveyance voucher of the club with its logo also showed that they paid the Nepali staffers their salaries in June.
Sarwar Hossain, one of the directors at Mohammedan Sporting Club, claimed the club had nothing to do with the salary sheet and voucher found at the casino.
“They have probably faked our voucher,” he added.
The letter pad of the buying house showed that, on May 6, its proprietor Babu Lal addressed the embassy and said that they were a registered buying house in Bangladesh.
It requested the embassy to issue multiple-entry visas for Sishir Gautam, Prabin Prasain, and Niroj Sedhai, saying they would promote Bangladeshi products in Nepal, for which they planned to visit Bangladesh from May 22, for one year.
The salary sheet of Mohammedan Sporting Club showed that the three joined the club on May 23.
In another letter, on May 15, showed that a marketing manager of the apparel factory, sent invitations to Shahi Sanu Babu, Nagar Koti Suraj and Nayaju Shristha Radha Krishna.
Addressing the embassy, the garments factory said the trio agreed to sign a contract and work with the factory, for which they will have to attend meetings in Dhaka.
The factory requested the embassy to issue visas for them “for a longer period of time for business purposes”.
The Daily Star could not independently verify whether the letter pad was authentic.
Contacted, the proprietor of the buying house claimed that he was not Babu Lal.
“I am Jahangir Alam and I didn’t invite any Nepalis for business purposes this year.
He added that he is the lone proprietor of the buying house and he has no partnership with anyone.
“I had written an invitation letter for two Nepalis in 2016 as I had business with them. But the names you mentioned, I don’t know them,” Jahangir said, suspecting that there may be a fake copy of his buying house letter pad.
The website of the buying house was also found hacked yesterday.
Jahangir said that he would contact the domain provider to find out when his website was hacked.
Riyad Hossain, whose cell phone number was mentioned in the company pad of the garment factory, claimed his name and mobile number were correct but he didn’t do any job for any garments factory and he didn’t write the letter.
“I am now a student at Dhaka College and I give tuition classes,” he added.
The documents found in Mohammedan Sporting Club have raised questions regarding how the visas were obtained if the letters were fake.
Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan, director (in-charge) of the club, said they rented out the space under “political pressure” and didn’t know what was happening inside.
Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Motijheel Division) Anwar Hossain, who led the raid at the club on Sunday, said the matter was under investigation and he could not comment until it was complete.
The Daily Star could not reach Bangladesh Ambassador in Kathmandu Mashfee Binte Shams, despite several attempts to call her on messaging applications for comments.
‘POLICE HELPED THEM FLEE’
A CCTV footage of an apartment building in the capital’s Segunbagicha area showed that 15 Nepalis, who reportedly worked in casinos, fled from the building early Thursday when Rab conducted a crackdown in the casinos at Fakirerpool Young Men’s Club and Dhaka Wanderers Club in Motijheel area.
The six Nepalis were also among them.
The footage showed that three plainclothes men with walkie-talkies entered the building -- “Summit Hasan Lodge” -- around 10:48pm on Wednesday night.
At the entrance, they introduced themselves as policemen and told the security guard to take them where the Nepalis were staying.
The guard, Uzzal, took them to the flat. Uzzal was not allowed inside.
The three left the building around 11:28pm with a bag.
Around 1:46am, 15 Nepalis were seen leaving the building with luggage.
Belayet Hossain, an owner of a flat in the building, said the Nepalis rented the flat on the 5th floor around two months ago for a monthly rent of Tk 40,000.
A Bangladeshi man named Masum introduced himself as a trainer of Mohammedan Sporting Club and helped the Nepalis rent the flat, he said.
“I am just work in the club. My NID was used to rent the flat for the Nepali staffers,” Masum said.
When renting the apartments, Masum, however, did not provide any information about Nepali tenants in the tenants’ registration form, police said.
Investigators have found direct or indirect involvement of about 100 foreign nationals, mostly Nepalis, in Bangladesh’s illegal casino business, which is currently facing a crackdown by law enforcement agencies.
They are either partners in the casinos, employees hired to operate the gambling machines or hired to manage the businesses, said police.
Azimul Haque, additional deputy commissioner of police (Ramna Division), visited the building yesterday and told reporters that they would investigate the footage and take action if they found any policemen involved.
The country woke up to this underworld operation when Rab conducted a crackdown on Wednesday, finding Las Vegas style gambling rackets dealing with crores of taka.