Dhaka South Jubo League President Ismail Hossain Samrat has allegedly dug himself in at his office in Kakrail to avert arrest and is desperately looking for ways to leave the country, his party men told The Daily Star yesterday.
They said Samrat deployed his security men and supporters to surround the building in the wake of law enforcers’ crackdown on “casinos” at sporting clubs in the capital.
The party men, refusing to divulge their posts in the ruling-party youth front, said that since the arrest of Jubo League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan on Wednesday, in connection with running a “casino” at a football club in Fakirerpool, Samrat has been staying at his office.
The Daily Star correspondent visited Samrat’s office around noon yesterday and stayed there for around three hours. This paper could not independently verify whether he was actually inside the office.
Samrat’s supporters had virtually cordoned off the gate of the eight-storey building and were preventing anyone from getting in. Over 50 of his supporters were seen in front of his office.
Himel, who identified himself as a Jubo League leader but refused to disclose his post, said, “Bhai wants to go abroad at this moment to avoid the wrath of the government. After few days, everything will become normal as new issue will arise.”
Another person identifying himself as a close aide to Samrat told this correspondent that Samrat wants to go abroad for treatment, not to flee.
He said Samrat had treatment for his heart in Singapore last year and needs to go there again for a follow-up.
He told this correspondent on which floor Samrat was staying, his sleeping arrangement, and how his food is prepared. “He is fine here.”
At least a hundred more trusted supporters and bodyguards were inside the office, sources in the Jubo League said.
Samrat is trying to convince Awami League high-ups to allow him to leave the country, the sources added.
Samrat could not be reached for comments over the phone despite repeated attempts.
Scores of party men were also seen loitering in the area.
“The present bad situation will be over within a few days. Samrat bhai will start his play again. Then, he will hit 6s, instead of 4s,” a youth was heard saying at a tea stall.
Responding to him, another youth said, “The storm [crackdown against “casinos”] will certainly stop, don’t worry. If bhai remains safe, there is nothing to be worried about.”
This correspondent was then spotted and asked to leave.
Asked about Samrat’s alleged involvement in running “casinos”, Sohel Rana, assistant inspector general at the Police Headquarters, said police would take actions against anyone found involved in running casinos.
When Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal was asked about Samrat on Saturday, he said Samrat would be arrested if police found proof against him.