Expat AL leader arrested at HSIA after overseas travel ban

Abul Kashem

News Desk :
Police have arrested Abul Kashem, chairman of the proposed People’s Bank, at Dhaka airport hours after a court barred him from travelling abroad in a case over money laundering.

Immigration police detained Kashem at Shahjalal International Airport as he was trying to flee to the United States on Wednesday midnight, said investigation officer Inspector Md Moniruzzaman of CID’s financial crime unit.

“Immigration police handed Kashem over to the CID on Thursday morning. He was then sent to the court and the judge set Jun 25 for remand hearing and sent him to jail,” Moniruzzaman said, reports bdnews24.com

Kashem, a vice president of the ruling Awami League’s (AL) United States unit, was one of the four people, including Alesha Mart Chairman Md Monzur Alam Sikder, who faced the travel ban.

According to the case dossier, Monzur gave Kashem Tk 1 billion gathered from thousands of clients of the e-commerce platform to acquire a directorial position at the People’s Bank and invest in the capital market.

The two others mentioned in the court order are Monzur’s wife Sadia Chowdhury, who is the managing director of Alesha Mart, and Md Al Mamun, the owner of SK Traders, which supplies the organisation with motorcycles. All three are currently on the run.

“We’ve not been able to locate them at their designated addresses with all operations of their companies shut down,” police officer Moniruzzaman said. “We’re trying to bring them in. We don’t have any information about whether they already left the country.”


The court also froze all assets of the scam-hit company upon Moniruzzaman’s request on Wednesday. He said authorities at the airport and other travelling locations were immediately informed about the ban.

Following complaints of fraud from almost 3,000 clients, the CID carried out an investigation. Al Mamun, an assistant superintendent of police, filed a case with Banani police against the four and 15-20 others on May 31.

Apart from the four and Alesha Mart, Alesha Holdings Limited, Alesha Card Limited, Alesha Engineering And Services Limited, Alesha Tech Limited, Alesha Food and Beverages Limited, Alesha Ride Limited, Alesha Export Import Limited, Alesha Pharmacy Limited and Alesha Agro Limited were accused in the case, Moniruzzaman said.

“They offered motorcycles and different electronics products and took money in advance from many customers but did not deliver the products or provide refunds. They carried out fraudulent activities like money laundering in the guise of e-commerce trade,” he said.

According to the case, Alesha Mart Limited received registration from the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies And Firms on Jul 26, 2020 before gathering a trade licence from Dhaka North City Corporation. The organisation began e-commerce activities in January of the following year.

Until May 1 this year, 2,087 customers lodged complaints with the Directorate of National Consumers’ Right Protection while 35 went to the CID over not getting their products or refunds.