Investigators have found links of the burgeoning gold smuggling racket with money dealers running "hundi" business. In this, Taka is transacted for foreign currency sent by Bangladeshis working or staying abroad bypassing the official channels.
Detective Branch (DB) of police investigating the recent arrest of several members of a gold smuggling racket, including officials of state airlines Bangladesh Biman, said they found names of dozens of black money owners who invest in gold smuggling and get a good commission. They also run a fabulous hundi business, the DB officials said.
Many influential people from both ruling and opposition political parties in Dhaka and Chittagong are suspected to be involved with the smuggling rings.
Jewellery traders in the two cities also indulge in hundi transactions to run their business, they said.
DB police arrested Biman DGM Emdad Hossain, Flight Captain Shahidullah, Schedule in-charge Tozzamel Haque, Uttara's Farhan Money Exchange owner Harun-ur-Rashid and Biman contractor Mahmudul Haque Palash in connerction with recent haul of smuggled gold at the Dhaka airport.
The five were remanded for four days in DB custody. Of them Uttara's Farhan Money Exchange owner Harun-ur-Rashid manage hundi money for smuggling gold, in which the people at the airport sometimes play a very deceitful game, one DB official told The Daily Observer yesterday. He, however, refused to be named, as he is not officially authorised to speak to the media.
Smuggling of gold, mostly coming from Dubai and carried on Bangladesh Biman flights, has become a daily phenomenon, with more than 1500 kg of the precious metal seized at Dhaka and Chittagong airports over the last one year. It is widely suspected that a larger quantity of gold may have found safe passage out of the airports with help of dishonest airline and airport officials.
Investigators have found out one well-knit syndicate involved in passing the smuggled gold out of the airport. Then, a political syndicate take over, ferrying the gold to the borders with India - which is the biggest buyer of the smuggled gold and pays good commission to the syndicates.
Gold smugglers play a puzzle for law enforcing agencies - they in collusion with airport operators let small quantity of gold to be seized by the customs - and in the haze of that take much bigger quantities safely out of the airport, the BD official told the Daily Observer.
So, in many cases, recovery of a little amount gold means a huge consignment of gold has at the same time been smuggled into the country, on way out to India, he said.