Is Samrat back again?

Jubo League leader Samrat
Photo: Star

Expelled Jubo League leader Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat, an alleged casino kingpin in Dhaka, seems to have become active in politics again centring the organisation's founding anniversary rally today.

The expelled president of the Jubo League's Dhaka Metropolitan South unit is planning to stage a "grand showdown" in the rally, his supporters said.

Earlier on August 22 this year, he was granted bail by the Supreme Court.

Samrat's followers have put up banners and festoons with his name and picture at various points across Dhaka South.

Samrat is also in regular contact with the leaders and workers, giving them instructions, they added.

This correspondent saw banners and festoons with Samrat's picture and name near the rally venue and in other areas of the capital, including Paltan, Motijheel, Gulistan, Kakrail, Chawkbazar, and Lalbagh.

An organising secretary of the Dhaka Metropolitan South Jubo League, wishing to be anonymous, told The Daily Star that around 50,000 leaders and activists will be on the field "under Samrat's leadership" today. The activists will also wear caps and t-shirts bearing his name and photos.

After the law enforcement agencies started the anti-casino drive in September 2019, Samrat's name came under the spotlight because of various allegations including tender rigging, extortion, corruption, and money.

On October 6, 2019, the Rapid Action Battalion detained Samrat and his associate Enamul Haque Arman from Chauddagram, Cumilla.

The Rab raided his Kakrail office the next day and recovered large quantities of foreign liquor, pistols, and two kangaroo hides.

Abdul Khaleque, deputy assistant director of Rab-1, later lodged two complaints against Samrat with Ramna Police Station under the Arms Act and the Narcotics Control Act.

On November 12, the Anti-Corruption Commission also lodged a complaint against him for acquiring assets worth Tk 2.94 crore beyond his known sources of income.

ACC Deputy Director Jahangir Alam, also the investigation officer of the case, submitted a charge sheet against Samrat on December 7, 2020, stating that he siphoned off around Tk 220 crore and channelled it to casinos in Singapore and Malaysia between 2011 and 2018.

Samrat had earlier been granted bail in the three cases filed over possession of arms and narcotics, money laundering, and amassing wealth beyond known sources of income.

He was finally released from jail on August 25 after securing bail in a money laundering case.


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