Police yesterday arrested one of the members of a smugglers’ ring at Shahjalal International Airport while he was bringing in 13.6 kilograms of gold worth around Tk 7 crore from Dubai.
Detained Monowarul Huq, 46, disclosed the name of a field officer of National Security Intelligence (NSI), and said that the smugglers’ gang had a strong network involving many government officials deployed at the airport.
Sources at the NSI and airport said NSI Field Officer Abdul Aziz was withdrawn yesterday from his duty at the airport.
According to sources, personnel from the NSI, customs, immigration, aviation and other departments, who are deployed at the airport, are involved in the smuggling.
Armed Police Battalion (APBn) sources said as many as 117 gold-bars, worth around Tk 6.87 crore, kept in six black-polythene bags, were found inside a flash-water-tank of a toilet at the Boarding Bridge-1 of the airport.
Police also seized five phone sets, several memory cards and electronics goods from the possession of the arrestee.
Hailing from Kaliganj upazila of Gazipur, Monowarul was detained around 1:15pm from the Boarding Bridge-1 after he had arrived in Dhaka by flight FZ-583 of Fly Dubai airlines at 11:45am. He went to Dubai on Sunday morning.
He had earlier travelled to Dubai five times and Singapore once. Duration of all of his travels was short.
Talking to The Daily Star, Monowarul admitted to have carried the gold bars from Dubai and hid them into the toilet as those were supposed to be taken away by the other members of the gang.
“One Ferdous gave me the gold at Dubai airport to hand those over to bullion trader Debu of Old Dhaka, who is the owner of the gold. NSI Field Officer Aziz assured him of taking the gold away from the airport,” Monowarul said.
He said he had carried 2.5 kgs of gold last month and handed that over to the same NSI Field Officer Aziz.
He claimed that once he had a shop at Bashundhara Shopping Mall and he was actually an importer of various accessories.
Minhazul Islam, assistant superintendent of the APBn (ASP), said soon after Monowarul came down from the flight, he went to the toilet with a trolley-bag. Acting on a tip-off, the APBn members in plain clothes followed him.
“As he took much time than usual, our suspicion heightened,” said the ASP adding, “After he came out of the toilet, the APBn men searched the toilet and found the gold bars in the water tank. Then we arrested him.”
He said, “Searching the call list on Monowarul’s phone, we found that soon after his arrival, he made calls to Aziz.”
The ASP said after the arrest and seizure, NSI Deputy Director Yusuf Ali Hawlader and officials from other government agencies came to the airport.
The Daily Star repeatedly tried to talk to Yusuf Ali, but he neither received any call nor responded to the SMS sent by this correspondent. A call to Aziz’s phone was received by another person who claimed that it was a wrong number although the number was collected from the cell phone of Monowarul.