Home Bangladesh 2500 kgs gold seized in 10-yr
Bangladesh - June 13, 2024

2500 kgs gold seized in 10-yr

1,375 involved in gold smuggling

Staff Correspondent: Illegal gold comes from Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore. 90 percent of that gold is smuggled into India through the border areas of seven districts. Over 1,375 people are involved in this trafficking. Some of them are businessmen, some patrons, some carriers. The Ministry of Home Affairs has made this list of those involved in gold smuggling based on the intelligence information of multiple forces.
According to the relevant sources, Bangladesh is basically the transit route of the international gold smuggling ring. The gang of gold smugglers is spread in the country and abroad. There are gangs centered on smuggling in the border areas as well. After the killing of Member of Parliament of Jhenaidah-4 Constituency Anwarul Azim Anna, the border smuggling ring has come into discussion. According to reports, he was the controller of a circle. He was killed in Kolkata, India on May 13 in a dispute over the killing of gold worth Tk 200 crore in several shipments.

Gold traders’ organization Bangladesh Jewelers Association (BAJUS) believes that at least Tk 250 crore worth of gold ornaments and bars are smuggled into the country every day by air, sea and land. According to this, about Tk 91,250 crore worth of gold or more is entering the country illegally every year.
Dhaka Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport is the main route for legal and illegal gold to enter the country. Some come through Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport. According to the customs sources of these two airports, 46 lakh loads of gold have arrived in the country legally in 2022. However, they believe that around 98 lakhs worth of gold has arrived illegally at this time.
In the last 10 years, Airport Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate, Armed Police Battalion (APBN), Police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) have seized 2,583 kg of gold. According to BGB data, cases of seizure of stolen gold consignments in border areas with India are on the rise. BGB has seized 545 kg of gold in the border area in the last five years.
Related sources said that the amount of gold being smuggled is several times more than what is being caught at airports and border areas. Unscrupulous officers and employees cooperated in exchange of money to extract illegal gold shipments from the airport. Those caught with gold are almost all carriers. The names of businessmen and the patrons of the circle are not disclosed. Gold smuggling does not stop because the master is not caught.
Sources at the police headquarters say that 631 cases of gold smuggling are being investigated across the country. Apart from this, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police is investigating 21 money laundering cases against the godfathers of gold smuggling. However, even after years, there is little progress in the investigation of these cases.
CID Chief and Additional Inspector General Mohammad Ali told that CID is investigating most cases of gold smuggling. CID has list of traders. An operation is underway against them. The money laundering case against the mafia is under investigation.
Sources related to the investigation of MP Anwarul Azim’s murder case say that the mastermind of this murder, Aktaruzzaman Shaheen, is a top gold smuggler. He smuggled gold into India. A circle controlled by friend Anwarul cooperated in this in return for commission. Shaheen chose another gang after killing the gang by telling them about the seizure of gold worth Tk 200 crore in several challans. The MP was killed in a conflict over these.
According to law enforcement sources, Shafiqul Islam Shafiq alias ‘Golden Shafi’ is the most influential among the gold smuggling mafias in the country. In the 1990s, Shafi, who sold towels by ferry, developed a friendship with the customs officials by testifying falsely in the murder case. He used this friendship to build a gold smuggling network. Most of the other big businessmen involved in gold smuggling are his disciples and circle members. CID is investigating a money laundering case against Shafi.
The name of Monir Hossain alias Golden Monir is also in the list of law enforcement and home ministry as involved in gold smuggling. Law enforcement sources say Monir is one of Shafi’s accomplices. RAB arrested him from MerulBadda’s house on November 21, 2020. He was recently acquitted in the case of recovery of huge amount of gold from his house as the charges were not proved.
Abu Ahmed of Chittagong is named as involved in gold smuggling in the Ministry’s list. Sources say that he is the godfather of gold smuggling in Chittagong. CID has traced his wealth of Tk 721 crore 17 lakh. The financial crime unit of the CID has submitted an investigation report to the court.
Humayun Kabir, former Special Superintendent of CID’s Financial Crimes Unit, who works on gold smuggling and money laundering cases, said that the masterminds of gold smuggling are always out of reach. They have made an arrangement, so that the gang can carry on smuggling in the same way for the next 10 years.
How do businessmen cross airport?
Gold is entering the country in bars, ornaments and liquid form. Sometimes the gangs send gold through expatriate passengers, and sometimes they keep the gold under the seats of the aircraft or elsewhere. According to the sources of Shahjalal airport several organizations and customs officers, the aircraft coming from abroad go to parking no. 11 and 12 after disembarking the passengers. There, according to the roster, the people of the smuggling ring boarded the plane and brought the gold. They are employees of the ground handling department of the airport. Later, the gold was taken out through Gate No. 8 through the cleaners of the gang members and delivered to another carrier. Big shipments go to a building in Uttara. There is division of challan. Other members of the gang joined the task of reaching the border of the shipment.
A senior officer of the law enforcement force who has served at the airport for a long time said that some dishonest officials of the airport already know the information about gold smuggling. They pass the invoice with commission. Even if some of them were transferred from the airport, he received payment for a certain period. However, the gold challan comes out even without the attention of these dishonest officials. Of course, some of them do this work to take the entire money alone.
Smuggling thru’7 borderdistricts
According to law enforcement sources, border areas of seven districts-Jesore, Satkhira, Chuadanga, Meherpur, Chapainawabganj, Comilla and Panchagarh-are mainly used for smuggling gold into India. Most of the smuggling is done through Benapole of Sharsha Upazila of Jessore. From Dhaka, the gold reaches the border area through different groups of carriers. Later the gangs there cooperated in smuggling gold to India. Dominants control the border cycle. After the murder of MP Anwarul, Jhenaidah border has also been named as a gold smuggling route.
A driver who has been carrying gold for a long time has given a description of how gold is smuggled from Dhaka airport to India. He also has several cases in his name for being caught with gold shipments. According to his information, in March last year, he had delivered a consignment of 75 loads of illegal gold from Dubai to Dhaka airport via Nepal by car from Uttara to Jessore’s Sharsha border. Later the shipment is sent to India. Sheikh Shafiullah, the top gold smuggler listed by the police in the region, kept the entire journey under surveillance by installing a tracker on his car. He is now absconding in the police register.
According to the information of the driver, several gangs operate at different stages till the illegal gold is smuggled from Dhaka across the border to India. One group does not know about another group. Everyone gets paid. Unscrupulous law enforcement officers also receive money. If there is a dispute about the money, the invoice is caught.
Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Benapole police station Suman Bhakta said that the police sometimes detain the carrier with the consignment. But the carriers don’t know much about the shipment. If more, it can say up to the previous step.
Gold is also being seized in BGB operations at the border. Director General of BGB Major General Mohammad Ashrafuzzaman Siddiqui said that they will not allow any criminal to illegally use the border for smuggling.

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