POST TIME: 23 September, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 September, 2019 10:29:18 PM
Juba League leader Samrat under watch
Abu Jakir, Dhaka

Juba League leader Samrat under watch

Ismail H Chowdhury Samrat

Following the arrest of Juba League leaders Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan and SM Golam Kibria Shamim, it has become a talk of the town, including the Awami League president’s Dhanmondi office, whether Dhaka South Juba League President Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat will be arrested or not. Many thought that Juba League leader Samrat would be arrested in the aftermath of the crackdowns on charges of illegally running casino and gambling board in the capital. Sources concerned said Samrat was indirectly involved in running casino business in five clubs, including Mohammedan Sporting Club, Arambag Krira Sangha, Dilkusha Sporting Club, Victoria Sporting Club and Wonderers Club. The movement of Samrat, however, remains under close watch since Wednesday last, said the law-enforcers. The speculation over his arrest got intensified following raids at the four aforesaid clubs in the capital yesterday.

To avoid any untoward situation, the Juba League leader, however, has been spending night at the Juba League office in the city’s Kakrail area since Wednesday.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Juba League leaders and activists have taken position in front of the Kakrail office

in their frantic bid to help Samrat avoid arrest. They are not allowing anybody to meet the Juba League leader.

This correspondent, despite repeated attempts, could not reach Samrat over the phone.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, while talking to the media on Saturday, said if the law enforcers find any involvement of Juba League President Ismail Hossain Samrat in casino business, he will be arrested.

He also warned of stern action against official(s) of the police administration if found involved in illegal casino business.

However, several Awami League leaders, while talking about Samrat, said to this correspondent that the said Juba League leader is involved in gambling business although he is not an opportunist or an intruder in the ruling party.

Earlier, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a recent meeting of the ruling party’s executive committee expressed annoyance over the activities of Juba League leaders. Soon after, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) started crackdown from September 18.

The decision to strip Rezwanul Hoque Chowdhury Shovon and Golam Rabbani of their posts as President and General Secretary of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) amid allegations of extortion against them was also discussed in the same meeting.

A number of Awami League leaders who attended the meeting said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had described some Juba League leaders as being ‘even worse than Shovon and Rabbani.’

Without mentioning anyone’s name, she talked about a Juba League (Dhaka chapter) leader who’s involved in extortion and doing things whimsically. Another Juba Leader was accused of openly carrying gun.

She voiced her concern and said that such practices must be stopped. “Those dealing with arms, giving shelter to the goons must be checked. This must stop.” Otherwise, she warned, they will be dealt with the way militants were dealt with.

Party insiders say the Prime Minister’s statement was pointed to Juba League Dhaka (South) unit President Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat and Organising Secretary Khaled.

Earlier, the RAB on Friday arrested Juba League leader GK Shamim from his office in the capital with a huge stash of cash, fixed deposit receipts and liquor and handed him over to the Gulshan police. Three separate cases were also initiated against him. He is accused of money laundering in the other case.

Shamim has made his fortune as a contractor and identifies himself as a Juba League leader.

The arrest incident took place two days after a RAB unit arrested Juba League leader Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan who was expelled for running an illegal casino inside the Young Men’s Club in Fakirapool.