June 19, 2024, 5:18 pm

Staff Correspondent

2023-09-07 15:41:03 BdST

Customs gold heist: ‘Involvement’ of 4 AROs, 4 sepoys found

Police have found the ‘involvement’ of the eight officers and employees of Dhaka Customs House, who were taken to police custody for interrogation, with the heist of 55.51kg gold from a vault of Customs Transit Godown-1 at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), said sources.

Assistant Revenue Officers (AROs) Shahidul Islam, Saidul Islam Shahed, Masud Rana and Akram Sheikh and sepoys Mozammel Haque, Afzal Hossain, Rezaul Karim and Niamat Howlader were on duty when the theft took place early Saturday.

They were detained on Sunday for interrogation over the incident. They were still in police custody.

Apart from them, some other customs officers and employees are under the police scanner and they may be taken to police custody for interrogation anytime, said the sources.

Inspector (Operations) of Airport Police Station Khurshed Alam, also investigation officer of the case filed over the gold heist, said that police and senior customs officers are still interrogating the eight detainees to know  about the matter.

“We have suspicion about some others. But the eight are at the centre of our suspension. That’s why they’re being grilled for long,” he said.

In response to a query about whether they will be able to divulge any information from them, the police officer said, “Wait and see.”

Meanwhile, the case has been transferred to the Detective Branch of police.

Touhidul Islam, additional deputy commissioner (Airport Zone) under Uttara Crime Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, on Tuesday night said the case was transferred to DB following directive from the higher authorities.

Seeking not to be named, a police officer said direct and indirect involvement of the eight detainees has been found during interrogation. “They may be shown arrested in the case.”

He said some other officers and employees of Dhaka Customs House are under the police scanner.

Officer-in-charge (OC) of Airport Police Station Azizul Haque Mia said that their four teams are working to dig out mystery behind the incident.

They did not find any CCTV footage from the Customs Transit Godown-1and other storehouses at the HSIA, he said. “We couldn’t arrest anybody in this regard. But we’re interrogating the detained AROs and sepoys,” he said.

In response to a question whether police could extract any valuable information from them, the OC said, “Of course. And that’s why we’re grilling them again and again.”

He said the eight were not arrested, but taken to the police station for interrogation.

Sources in police said the eight officers and employees have unofficially been arrested.

Asked whether the gold was stolen or embezzled, the OC said, “We’ll go in line with the case filed on stealing charges. We’ll be able to clearly say after investigation whether it was an incident of theft or embezzlement.”

On Saturday morning, customs officers found that 55.51kg gold worth about Tk 45 crore was missing from 426 packets at a locker in Customs Transit Godown-1 in the HSIA, a KPI installation.

Mohammad Sohrab Hossain, ARO (Preventive Team) of the Dhaka Customs House, filed a case against unknown people in this regard.

He mentioned in the FIR that the precious metal was stolen between 12 am and 8:30 am on Saturday.

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