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3 Biman officials among 5 remanded over gold smuggling

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Court Correspondent
A Dhaka court on Wednesday placed five people, including three officials of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, in a case filed for their alleged involvement in gold smuggling.
The three Biman officials are its deputy general manager Md Emdad Hossain, manager (flight civil service) Tojammel Hossain Khan and captain Boeing 777, chief of planning and scheduling Abu Md Aslam Shaheed.
 The two others are Harun-ur-Rashid, owner of a money exchange, and Mahmud Hossain Polash, contractor of Bangladesh Biman Airlines.
Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Md Erfanullah passed the order rejecting their bail petitions when Md Minjhajul Islam, senior assistant police commissioner of Detective Branch, produced before the court seeking a 10-day remand for each of them.
In the remand petition, it was mentioned that a Biman cabin crew, Md Majharul Afsar, was arrested along with smuggled gold on November 12.
A case was filed against him under the Special Powers Act, 1974 with the Airport Police Station and he was then placed on a three-day remand.
Later, on November 17, he mentioned the names of the three Biman officials and two other people in his confessional statement.
Detectives of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested the five people conducting simultaneous drives in the city’s Airport, Uttara and Bashundhara areas on Tuesday night for their alleged involvement in gold smuggling.
Briefing reporters at DMP Media centre on Wednesday noon, Joint Commissioner (DB) Monirul Islam said the DB police started investigation into the case after it was transferred to DB from the Airport Police Station.
After investigation as well as acting on the confessional statement given by arrested cabin crew Md Mazarul Afsar, the DB police came to know that Shafiul Azam Talukdar Minto, an expatriate living Dubai, sent the gold bars, which were recovered from Afsar.
Besides, the five arrested people were involved in planning to smuggle gold with gold smugglers, Monir said and adding Shafiul Azam Talukder is contractor Harun’s brother.
He said the detectives have already identified other people involved in gold smuggling. “They’ll be arrested soon,” Monir added.
Although there is no study about the quantity of smuggled gold that evades the customs detection, intelligence sources hinted that at least 300 kg gold enter Bangladesh every day through the country’s three international airports -- Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Shah Amanat International Airport and MAG Osmani International Airport.
A number of international smuggling syndicates have been using international flights to bring the gold consignments into the country only to be smuggled out to India, the world’s highest gold-consuming country, said the sources.