Rab yesterday raided two flats belonging to Jubo Mohila League leader Shamima Nur Papia and her husband Mofizur Rahman Sumon after arresting them from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Saturday.
Raiding the two flats on Indira Road in the city's Farmgate area and also a presidential suite at a five-star hotel, Rab recovered around Tk 58 lakh in cash.
Apart from the lavish flats in Dhaka, Papia, 28, and Sumon, 38, a former Chhatra League leader, possess two more flats and two plots worth around Tk two crore in Narsingdi and several luxurious cars, Rab said at a press briefing yesterday.
The two were arrested from HSIA when they were trying to flee the country. Rab seized counterfeit notes, foreign currencies and around Tk 2.5 lakh from their possession.
Their accomplices, Sabbir Khandaker, 29, and Sheikh Taiyaba, 22, were also arrested from HSIA.
In addition to the fake notes and currencies, they had seven passports in their possession.
Rab handed over the four arrestees to Bimanbandar Police Station yesterday. It said two cases will be filed against them at Bimanbandar Police Station and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station.
'FORCED WOMEN INTO SEX WORK'
Rab also said Papia lured poor women of Narsingdi and forced them into sex work.
A presidential suite at a five-star hotel in the capital had been booked in her name for 59 days and paid for. The amount paid was around Tk 81.42 lakh.
Asked, Lt Col Shafi Ullah Bulbul, commanding officer of Rab-1, said they would only conduct a drive at the hotel if there are any specific allegations, adding that they would investigate whether the hotel management had any links to the illicit trade.
Rab said it recovered some photos and videos of some rich and influential people who were regular customers of her service.
In one such clip, Papia was seen sitting on a sofa with a thick stick in her hand, allegedly used to physically abuse the girls if any of them refused to follow her orders.
ARMS, DRUGS, AND MORE
Apart from running the illicit sex trade, Papia and Sumon made their fortune by lobbying in the recruitments of various government organisations, supplying illegal gas connections and issuing licences of CNG pump stations, Rab said, adding that they were also involved in arms and drugs trades.
The couple seemed to have made a hefty amount in a short period, and Rab said they could not find any proof of legal income.
"They had an investment of Tk one crore at a car showroom in Dhaka's FDC Gate area and Tk 40 lakh in KMC Car Wash and Auto Solution in Narsingdi," Lt Col Shafi Ullah said at the briefing.
In Narsingdi, they have a gang named "Q&C", whose members have tattoos on their hands. The gang is involved in extortion, and arms and drugs trade in the district, the Rab official added.
He also claimed Papia and Sumon ran a torture cell there.
Sources in the law enforcement agency said Papia and her husband made a huge amount by lobbying in the recruitment of various government organisations, using their political connections.
"As of now, Rab has found proof of their involvement in embezzling Tk 11 lakh for recruitment of sub-inspectors, Tk 35 lakh for supplying gas connections to a factory and Tk 29 lakh for issuing licence of a CNG pump station," the Rab official added.
Rab said Papia's husband is a businessman and helped his wife in her illegal activities. He also owns a bar in Thailand and spent most of his time there.
According to sources in the law enforcement agencies, Sumon was a convenor of Narsingdi Chhatra League and later became a bodyguard of a former mayor.
"Sumon was accused in the murder of a poura commissioner in 2001 and continued his criminal activities there," the Rab official said, adding that Papia and Sumon later moved to Dhaka where they were "blessed" by a ruling party MP.
"Although her yearly income from the automobile business is Tk 19 lakh, the record says she paid over Tk 2.5 lakh a day only at the bar of a Dhaka hotel," the official said.
Rab also got information about several of their bank accounts.
PAPIA'S POST: GENERAL SECRETARY
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Jubo Mohila League, an affiliated body of the ruling Awami League, has expelled Papia, who was Narsingdi district unit's general secretary, read a press release signed by the organisation's President Nazma Akhter and General Secretary Apu Ukil.
On social media, her photos with ruling party high-ups and some influential people surfaced after her arrest. Sources said she maintained close relationships with the high-ups of the ruling party and the government.
Lt Col Shafi Ullah said politicians take photos with everyone and these photos don't mean that they were endorsing Papia's illicit trades.
However, such an incident questions the process of the recruitment in the affiliated bodies of political parties, especially in influential posts like Papia's.