The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has sued the owners of online marketplace Dhamaka Shopping for laundering around Tk117 crore, which they collected by alluring the customers with exceptionally low-priced products.
The CID sued Dhamaka Shopping Managing Director SMD Jasim Uddin Chisti, his wife, their children, a director of the company, and four other organisations.
According to the case statement, the amount of money and assets smuggled may increase further if the deposit and withdrawal slips of the bank accounts of the accused persons and institutions and the information of assets outside the country are found.
According to the CID Assistant Superintendent of Police Al Amin Hossain, Dhamaka Shopping collected Tk803.51 crore from around five lakh customers by making various lucrative offers. In the beginning, Dhamaka Shopping delivered products to some customers but they stopped delivering goods to anyone else and embezzled the money.
Dhamaka Shopping also took goods worth Tk200 crore from 600 suppliers but did not pay a single penny.
Dhamaka Shopping managing Director SMD Jasim Uddin Chisti, his wife and children have been in the US since July this year. They have dual citizenship. Only Dhamaka Shopping Director (Operations) Safwan Ahmed is in the country.
The CID found out that the Chisti family laundered a portion of the embezzled money to the USA. It has been inquiring the money laundering racket allegedly pretending to be the e-commerce business since 30 June this year.
CID Assistant Superintendent of Police Al Amin Hossain filed the case against Dhamaka Shopping owners under the Money Laundering Act at Banani police station on Thursday after a long inquiry.
Accused in the case
The accused in the case are SMD Jasim Uddin Chisti, managing director of Dhamaka Shopping and Invariant Telecom, Saida Rokshana Khanam, director of Invariant Telecom, their son Tashrif Ridwan Chisti, chairman of Invariant Technologies, Mashfique Ridwan Chishti, director Invariant Technologies, Safwan Ahmed, director of Dhamaka Shopping and Invariant Telecom, Nazim Uddin Asif, managing director of Invariant Technologies.
Invariant Telecom Bangladesh Limited, Micro Trade, Invariant Technologies Limited and Micro Trade Food and Beverage Limited, owned by the Chisti family, have also been accused in the case.
How the money was laundered
During the inquiry, the CID assessed the banking information of the accused and some other unnamed individuals, statements of a number of sellers and customers, and information from some other government and non-government organisations.
The investigators found out that Invariant Telecom Bangladesh Limited has taken permission from the Office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms for importing and exporting software, telecom systems, smart phone and IP phones, and internet services since 25 February, 2015.
Later, from October 2020, the company started an illegal e-commerce business called Dhamaka Shopping to embezzle money.
According to the investigators, this gang of fraudsters uses the name Dhamaka Shopping solely to embezzle money. Individuals associated with Invariant Telecom appear to be conducting e-commerce business fraudulently in the name of Dhamaka Shopping without any authorisation, registration, trade license, business identification number, bank account for the online marketplace.
During the investigation, CID came to know that the price of the goods ordered by the customers was deposited to Invariant Telecom's accounts in Southeast Bank, City Bank and Dutch-Bangla Bank through SSLCOMMERZ, City Bank and bKash payment gateways.
After depositing the money of the purchase order of Dhamaka Shopping in the bank accounts of Invariant Telecom, the accused persons illegally transferred it to the bank accounts of other companies owned by them, such as Invariant Technologies Limited, Micro Trade and Micro Trade Food and Beverage Limited.
The CID has found out that Invariant Telecom transferred Tk58.51 crore from its account in Southeast Bank to Invariant Technology's accounts in the same bank. Invariant Telecom also transferred Tk42.17 from its City Bank account to the Southeast Bank.
Invariant Telecom also transferred Tk2.29 crore from its account in Southeast Bank to the Micro Trade Food and Beverage's account in Southeast Bank. It also transferred Tk7.53 crore from its account in Southeast Bank to Micro Trade's account in the same bank.
The company also transferred Tk13.7 from its City Bank account to Micro Trade's account in that bank.