It is easy to amass huge wealth untroubled through illegal means by managing the right people
We now have the story of "Golden Monir". It is like the authorities have suddenly stumbled upon a man who has built unimaginable wealth through smuggling, land grabbing and all other vices.
As if it all happened like magic, which, as the fact of the matter, is not true. Monir was not built in a day into "Golden Monir".
It took him 30 years to have earned assets worth over Tk1,050 crore including 200 plots, a car showroom and shares in a renowned jewellery shop and it is hard to think that the institutions responsible to catch such culprits did not know about him before.
If they really did not know about this man, then it certainly reflects their inefficiency.
But more worrisome is the fact that they have known about his unlawful activities since long when the ACC sued him in 2012 for amassing wealth illegally. He was also sued for gold smuggling in 2017 and for Rajuk plot scam in 2019. But no actions were taken against him.
We now know his story only after he fell from grace and was arrested by the law enforcers on charge of amassing wealth through illegal means.
Yet, we don't know who the beneficiaries of Monir's rise are – who have contributed to his rise in return of monetary favours.
His arrest has raised an all important question: what went wrong that led to his arrest?
The public perception is that possibly he went rogue and hurt the interest of some "influential" quarter causing his fall from grace.
This cannot be rejected outright as there are many such incidents that support such a perception.
The arrest of the so-called casino kingpins and the recovery of huge amounts of assets from their possessions remain as glaring examples of how the law enforcers allowed them to run illegal gambling businesses in some sports clubs in the city over the years. But the gamblers suddenly lost their protection and were arrested.
The arrest of Regent Hospital owner Shahed and JKG health care chairman Dr. Sabrina were also of similar nature. Both have built their kingdom in the health sector through alleged illegal means and were making money by issuing fake certificates of Covid-19 tests.
Do you remember the story of driver Malek who lived the life of a millionaire?
A driver by profession, Malek built a syndicate that allegedly controlled recruitment, promotion and transfer of officials of the Directorate General of Health Services.
The rug was pulled out from under Malek and he was arrested a few months ago.
Malek owns three multi-storied buildings in the capital, 24 flats, a dairy farm, and some other properties, together worth over Tk100 crore, according to the law enforcement agencies.
The story of controversial contractor and billionaire GK Shamim must be mentioned here as well.
Media reports say he allegedly spearheaded a racket to keep the government's Public Works Department (PWD) under his thumb, involving over Tk100 crore in illicit transactions.
He also lost the blessings of the powerful quarters suddenly and was arrested last year for amassing a huge amount of illegal wealth.
It would be a mistake to think that such goldmines are always available in the capital. Those who can, also find such sources of wealth outside the capital too. Take Faridpur for example.
Chhatra League Faridpur unit President Nisan Mahmood Shamim has built his empire there over the years without any hindrance as the law enforcement agencies remained silent. But his heydays were over suddenly. He was arrested.
He along with other Faridpur Awami League and associate body leaders allegedly laundered Tk2,000 crore as he confessed to a Dhaka court last August, according to media reports.
One may list many more such examples which tell a simple but chilling story:
It is easy to amass huge wealth untroubled through illegal means by managing the right people of the government's organisations that are supposed to fight such unlawful activities. And you may continue doing such unlawful business until you hurt the interest of any influential quarter.
Such stories only expose the dysfunctional state of the state institutions.