Four years into launching an investigation after the recovery of a trunk loaded with money and gold in Chattogram, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has finally tracked down a gold smuggling syndicate.
The CID has also got to know their bank transactions amounting to nearly Tk240 crore.
The kingpins of the 20-member syndicate — Abu Ahammad and Iqbal Mohammad — have purchased plots and houses in the port city with the money they made through gold smuggling. They also bought three shops in Dubai.
A small businessman from Fatikchhari upazila in the district named Abu Ahammad's name came up in the primary investigation and later the whole network got unfolded.
The Criminal Investigation Department said the network used to bring gold bars from Middle East to India and Myanmar. Then, the bullions would make their way into Chattogram through border smuggling routes.
The syndicate members used to sell the yellow metal to jewellery shops across the country.
The syndicate members were also operating from abroad. They purchased gold and managed India or Myanmar-bound passengers to carry those, CID officials involved in the investigation said.
Another part of the network would bring those into the country using several smuggling routes on borders. The precious metal would be shipped across the country once arrived in Chattogram.
"Abu Ahammad and Iqbal Mohammad have made millions in the last 15 years. The petty businessmen bought numerous plots, houses and three shops in Dubai with the money gained from gold smuggling," said Additional Superintendent of Police (CID) Minhaj Uddin.
The CID also got their hands on the land documents of 24 plots at Fatikchhari of Chattogram bought by Ahammad and Mohammad. They also own plots and residences at Katalgonj Residential Area, the multi-storeyed building at Panchlaish, Palli Sova Convention Hall at Chandgaon and Fatikchhari's Jahana Mansion in the port city.
Additional Superintendent of Police (CID) Faruk Hosen told The Business Standard that the CID has lodged a lawsuit against the 20 members of the network with Chattogram Kotwali police station on Wednesday.
"We have arrested 13 people so far in different raids across the country," he added.
The arrestees are Abu Rashed, 40; Oabaidul Akbar, 35; Mohammad Zia Uddin Bablu, 26; Imranul Haque; Kapil Chowdhury, 25; Imtiaz Hosen, 54; Mohammad Ali, 40; Faridul Alam, 40; Mohammad Ershadul Alam, 39; Mohammad Hasan, 42; Rubel Chakrabarty, 32; Sagar Mohajan, 28 and Titu Dhar, 36.