Terming detained Mohammedan Sporting Club director in-charge Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan as his friend, Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hasan said on Friday that he was not aware of his link to casino and love for alcohol.
‘I have seen cards being played in clubs from my childhood. I really had no clue that the card playing has now turned into casinos,’ Nazmul told reporters at a press briefing at his house.
‘Lokman never told me that there is a casino at the club. That’s quite surprising. He is my friend. Even I didn’t know, he had never told me,’ he said.
The Rapid Action Battalion on Wednesday arrested Lokman from his house at Monipuri Para for his role in running a casino in the club.
In a preliminary interrogation, Lokman admitted that he had deposited Tk 41 crore, earned from the club’s casino business, in Australian banks –Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ANZ Bank, said RAB.
Lokman, also a director of the BCB, told the RAB interrogation team that he rented out a room of the club to Dhaka South City Corporation commissioner Mominul Haque Shaeed for operating the casino.
Lokman also admitted of taking Tk 70,000 as daily rent from Shaeed for the casino.
The information came particularly shocking for Nazmul, who reportedly handpicked the former football organiser in BCB and made him the chairman of crucial grounds and facilities committees respectively in successive terms.
Nazmul, however, was not embarrassed by the recent revelation and promised to take action if he was proven guilty.
‘Look this is nothing to be embarrassed about,’ he said. ‘The basic thing I understand is that if someone commits a crime, he should be punished. There is no question of anyone disputing that.
‘Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan rented out the club. Of course, if he has rented it to the casino and has ties with them then he will be prosecuted,’ he said.
Nazmul claimed he never asked the law-enforcing agencies not to arrest Lokman despite him being his friend.
‘Have I told anyone in the administration to not catch him [Lokman],’ he said.
‘See, I will tell you a simple thing, the people who know Lokman Hossain and now are speaking against him, no one is telling the truth.
‘The Lokman I know, has never consumed alcohol in his life, has never gambled. That’s the truth. But the fact that he has rented out to casino is also true. There is no way of denying that,’ he said.