| by William Gomes
(April 12, 2012, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) On April 12, 2012 at around 11:30pm, railway ministry car pulled over at the main entrance to the Pilkhana BGB headquarters in the capital and its driver Ali Azam hollered that there were stashes of bribe money in the vehicle. BGB personnel on guard at the gate searched the car and found Tk 70 lak.
|Bangladesh army soldiers take position in the street outside the headquarters of Bangladesh Rifles in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 25 February 2009. EPA/ABIR ABDULLAH|
The BGB personal seized the money and detained the driver, Ali Azam, and three others who turned out to be railway minister’s Assistant Personal Secretary (APS) Omar Faruq Talukder, Bangladesh Railway General Manager (East) Yusuf Ali Mridha and its Chief Commandant Enamul Huq.
It was reported in the media that Azam, the driver of APS Omar, drove the vehicle carrying the APS and two other officials to gate-4 at Jhigatola after they refused to give him Tk 5 lakh as a share of the money .The detainees were released at around 1:00pm yesterday.
Credible sources said the car was moving towards the Sudha Sadan. It was promised by the railway minister to give Tk 5 lakh at the end of the railway recruitment business.
When the driver find out that he was betrayed he revealed the corruption money to the BGB personals.
When BGB personals in the gate -4 find out a large amount of money they called up several senior officials. Maj Gen Anwar Hossain, director general of the BGB was subsequently informed about the recovery of the money.
On the mean time be railway minister’s Assistant Personal Secretary (APS) Omar Faruq Talukder was allowed to call the railway minister and he informed what is happening in the gate 4.
Suranjit Sen Gupta quickly cut the line and he call up the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Selim.
That made a huge difference into the scene. Defence Adviser Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique immediately called General Md Abdul Mubeen, chief of army staff of Bangladesh Army.
Defence Adviser Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique quoting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said all detained person should be released as soon as possible with the recovered money. Defence Adviser Maj Gen (Retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique also said made it sure the incident should not be made public.
General Md Abdul Mubeen called up several officials and made it sure that media should not be informed about the incident and the detained persons with recovered money get released.
Railways Minister Suranjit Sengupta publicly denied his involvement with the corruption. Suranjit Sengupta said the incident of recovering money from the car of his assistant personal secretary (APS) was part of a “well orchestrated conspiracy” to humiliate him politically.
Recently Bangladesh railway department published advertisement for recruiting 7,140 personnel and it has, so far been able to complete recruitment of only 1,771 persons. The money was collected as bribe from different people looking for jobs.
Driver Ali Azam had taken to DGFI custody.Railway minister’s Assistant Personal Secretary (APS) Omar Faruq Talukder, Bangladesh Railway General Manager (East) Yusuf Ali Mridha and its Chief Commandant Enamul Huq was told by prime minister’s office that if they keep silent they will be awarded and the Prime minister’s office will made sure of impunity.
Previous Extortion allegations and criminal charges:
On April 9, 2007, it was announced that Bangladesh police were investigating extortion charges against Hasina. She was accused of forcing Bangladeshi businessman Tajul Islam Farooq to pay bribes before his company could build a power plant in 1998. Farooq said that he paid Hasina 30 million takas (US$441,000, or €383,211) to get his project approved by the government, according to a police official.
On July 16, 2007, Hasina was arrested by state police at her home and taken before a local court in Dhaka.She was accused of extortion and denied bail on the same day, and was held in a building converted into a jail on the premises of the National Parliament. According to the Awami League, the arrest was politically motivated.
On January 13, 2008, she was indicted by a special court along with two of her relatives, her sister Sheikh Rehana and her cousin Sheikh Selim, on extortion charges.On February 6, however, the High Court stopped the trial, ruling that she could not be prosecuted under emergency laws for alleged crimes committed prior to the imposition of the state of emergency.
Intelligence sources said that Chief of army staff was awarded a large amount of money for tackling the situation.