14 sued one and a half years after the biggest gold haul

After the haul, Gourango asked customs boss to hand over the gold to his agent Milon
Customs intelligence yesterday sued 14 people in connection with a one and a half year old incident of smuggling 124kg gold through the Dhaka airport, said to be the biggest ever haul ever.

The case, filed with the airport police station on Friday night, mentions the names of 10 employees of the national flag carrier Biman and four outsiders, including two foreigners.

The Biman staff members are Sweeping Supervisor Abu Zafar, Aircraft Mechanic Masud, Security Officer Kamrul Hasan, Engineers Saleh Ahmed and Mojibur Rahman, Assistant Aircraft Mechanic Anis Uddin Bhuiyan, Engineering Hangar Mechanic Osman Gani and Junior Inspection Officers Shahjahan Siraj, Raihan Ali and Maksud.

The other four are Milon Shikder, chairman of SA Cargo, Jasim Uddin, Nepalese Gourango Rosan and Indian Jason Prince.

On July 24 last year, a stash of 1,165 gold bars weighing 124kg and worth Tk54 crore, was recovered from a Biman aircraft coming in from Dubai, said Umme Nahida Akter, assistant director of the Customs Intelligence Division.

Suspects Masud, Anis, Shahjahan, Kamrul, Zafar and Mojibur have been arrested several times in the past in various incidents and are now on bail. Of them, Masud and Anis are also wanted for smuggling 105kg gold in April this year.

Moinul Khan, director general of customs intelligence, said a six-member committee of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) headed by him had found the involvement of these 14 men.

The committee submitted a 523-page report to the NBR chairman in the last week of October. The investigators said they however had not managed to trace the ring leader of the biggest gold haul in the country’s history. They recommended further police probe in this regard.

According to an official involved with the investigation, they had visited the Dubai airport, where the gold was loaded, talked to the Biman staff working there and collected CCTV footage from the Shahjalal airport’s hanger area.

They got sure about the involvement of several passengers Jasim Uddin and Indian citizen Jason Prince with help from customs officials. Police are yet to trace Jasim and Prince.

A customs official said Milon was the Bangladeshi agent of Nepalease citizen Gourango Rosan, who lives in Kathmandu. After the haul, Gourango sent a letter to the commissioner of Dhaka Customs House.

The smugglers faced no trouble in carrying the gold to the aircraft as carrying gold in Dubai needs no custom charge. They knew the aircraft well and used hole inside a toilet to stack up the bars on to a panel in the cargo space.

All the 10 Biman staffs belonged to the national carrier’s engineering department and had been tasked with bringing out the gold consignment. They were supposed to take the gold out of the secret chamber after the aircraft had been taken to the hanger area. They were told to pass the gold on through Gate 8.

Claiming ownership of the gold, Gourango asked the commissioner to fix a duty accrued on the gold through a short trial. He also wrote that he wanted to pay the duty and the gold to be handed over to his agent Milon.

Last month, detectives arrested five members of the smuggling racket including three Biman officials. Investigators said many engineering department employees, who know the structure of an aircraft well, help smugglers hide consignments in exchange of huge money.

Meanwhile, in the latest of a spiked series of gold hauls at the Dhaka airport, customs officials yesterday detained one and seized around 3.8kg gold, worth around Tk1.75 crore.

The detainee AKM Golam Kabir Shikder, a local of Munshiganj, landed at the airport around 11:40am on a Malaysian flight, said Kazi Md Ziauddin, a joint commissioner of airport customs.

Noticing suspicious movements, customs officials challenged him in the green channel of the airport. They found 8 gold bars frisking his body.


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