Dragnet on corruption widens

Areas of the ongoing cleansing drives are being widened with the list of people linked with corruption and crime becoming longer as well.
Apart from political and business sectors, the administration is also now being included in the cleansing drives. According to sources, the government wants to make the administration corruption- free. For this purpose, information about corruption and irregularities has been collected from different areas of the administration.

The sources said, the cleansing drives will be started in various sectors. The secretariat, all the directorates, corporations and district and upazila level offices will also be subjected to the drives. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her speech during the parliament session on Wednesday said, “Punitive measures are being taken against all the government officials and employees and none will be spared.” About the drives, Faiz Ahmed, Public Administration Secretary, said, “The Prime Minister announced to end corruption. We are implementing it.”

State Minister for Public Administration, Farhad Hossain said, the drives already have started against corruption. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordered to take action against corruption in various ministries in the administration and it would implemented quickly. Earlier, Road Transport and Bridge Minister Obaidul Quader said it is not only politicians that are corrupt, corruption also exists in the administration. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has launched the cleansing drives from her own house. The administration will also find out those people who are corrupt and action will also be taken against them.

As part of the anti-corruption drives, the ACC is working with a list of around 800 people linked with casino crimes, extortion, tender manipulation, bribery and other corruption. Those people include ministers, lawmakers, politicians, businessmen, contractors, and present and former officials of the government.

Besides, the ACC has sought information from the Bangladesh Bank for details of bank accounts of about 600 people while the BFIU authorities have already frozen bank accounts of around 400 of them on the recommendations of the ACC, the NBR and the court. Moreover, bans on travel abroad have also been imposed against around 200 of those people.

An ACC official concerned said, the anti-corruption drives and other activities are being monitored as well as supervised by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) directly. According to sources, around 200 people have already been arrested, including Ismail Hossain Somrat, Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, GK Shamim, Lokman Hossain, Selim Prodhan and many other leaders from AL and its different front organisations.

Bank accounts have been frozen and travel bans were imposed against several ruling party lawmakers including Nur-un-Nobi Chowdhury Shaon, Shamsul Huq Chowdhury, immediate past Jubo League chairman Omar Faruq Chowdhury, Swechchhsebok League President Molla Md Abu Kawsar, General Secretary Pankaj Devnath, Jubo League leader Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat, Dhaka City Ward Coincilors Mominul Huq Sayeed, Habibur Rahman Mizan, Khaled Mahmud Bhuiyan, Mohamedan Sporting Club Director Lokman Hossain Bhuiyan, Kalabagan Crira Chakra president Shafiqul Islam Firoz, Jubo League leaders Kazi Anisur Rahman, Mizanur Rahman Bakul, Awami League leadr Enamul Huq Enu, his brother Rupam Bhuiyan, contractor GK Shamim, former PWD chief enginner Rafiqul Islam and present additional chief engineer Abdul Hye, mafia don Aziz Mohammad Bhai, their family members and business organisations.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Commission or ACC has opened an investigation into the allegations of embezzlement and acquisition of illegal wealth against Khondoker Nasiruddin, former vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj.

The anti-graft agency assigned Director Sheikh Md Fanafillah to lead the investigation after a meeting on Wednesday, the ACC announced.
Nasiruddin, facing allegations of corruption and abuse of power, resigned from his post as vice chancellor of the university on September 30 amid raging student protests on the campus.

Students alleged the VC charged students extra for admissions, dormitory rents and medical treatment. Protests roiled the university after Fatema Tuz Zinia, a second-year student of law and a reporter of a daily, were suspended over a Facebook post highlighting the allegations against Nasiruddin. Nasiruddin landed in hot water after a video of a conversation between the VC and Fatema, in which he chastised the student and made derogatory comments against her father, went viral.

The authorities later withdrew the suspension but were forced to shut down the university after failing to appease the protesters. But as the protests raged on, violence soon followed when 20 students were left injured in an attack perpetrated by alleged outsiders. The University Grants Commission subsequently sent a probe committee to look into the matter and the panel on September 29 recommended Nasiruddin's removal from office.