Theft of SAFF champs’ cash: How or where, no clue yet
Nobody could tell yesterday how $1,300 and other belongings of two of the heroes of Bangladesh's SAFF Women's Championship-winning team were stolen, staining the jubilations.
After receiving a grand reception on their arrival from Kathmandu, in which the team was put on an open-top double-decker and paraded from the airport to the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) headquarters in Motijheel, Krishna Rani Sarkar and Shamsunnahar Sr discovered that their valuables have been stolen.
Their bags were found unlocked and the money missing.
Krishna lost $900 and Shamsunnahar $400.
Mahfuza Akhter Kiran, head of the BFF women's wing at a press conference yesterday afternoon, termed the incident "extremely disappointing".
BFF informed Biman, the luggage handling authority at the airport, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
Arriving passengers, especially migrant workers, have on a regular basis been alleging that their valuables get stolen from luggage at the airport.
So, when the news of the theft broke yesterday, all eyes were on Biman and Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport authorities.
Biman and HSIA claimed that representatives of the BFF and two officials of the Bangladesh team had received completely intact bags of the champions before leaving the airport.
BFF Executive Tushar Imran told this paper they found no cuts in any of the luggage, which was transported to the BFF in closed lorries. The locks were in place too, he said.
The BFF also asked airport security authorities to investigate and go through CCTV footage.
Group Captain Kamrul Islam, executive director at HSIA, in a press release said BFF's Tushar reported the theft. "On the basis of the complaint, the authorities of HSIA have examined the CCTV footage …"
They did not find anything.
Around an hour after the press release was issued, Biman in another press release claimed the BFF representatives and footballers concerned received the luggage in good condition.
Biman also said no complaints were received regarding the loss of anything when the luggage was handed over.
It claimed the bags were handled with utmost care and supervision and were disbursed on carousel-8 at 2:10pm.
Biman said the BFF representatives left the airport area with the luggage loaded into two lorries.
"Today [yesterday] after examining CCTV footage of various areas in the airport, the allegations centring the airport were found to be not true," Biman said.
It remains a mystery how the two players' belongings were stolen.
According to BFF's Mahfuza, the lorries carrying the luggage were followed by two BFF vehicles along with a police guard. Even after being brought to BFF headquarters, it was under CCTV surveillance.
The BFF could not find anything suspicious in their CCTV footage.
Mahfuza said the BFF would compensate Krishna and Shamsunnahar if the money could not be recovered.
"It is a lot of money for them, especially when they are so young. If their money is not recovered, I will definitely take initiative on behalf of the BFF," Mahfuza said.
BFF also filed a general diary with Motijheel Police Station. Officer-in-Charge (operation) Kazi Nasirul Amin told The Daily Star that there was no headway in the probe.