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Probe into highway mortgage fraud ordered

Published : 24 Nov 2022 09:31 PM

The High Court has ordered the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to investigate the incident of taking a loan of Tk 15 crore from a private bank-- Social Islami Bank-- by mortgaging highway land.

The High Court also asked the ACC to submit a report within the next three months after holding the inquiry into the deception and fraudulence of mortgaging the government land on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway at Azampur of Uttara in the capital. 

The HC bench of Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat issued the order on Thursday after hearing a public interest litigation writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Obayed Ahmed.

The next hearing will be held on February 24. The managing director of Social Islami Bank has been asked to submit a reply.

Advocate Abul Kalam Azad represented the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of Bangladesh Bank in the court, while lawyer Shaheen Ahmed appeared for the ACC and Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state. 

The High Court, however, issued a rule to know why the inaction of the government bodies concerned against those involved in corruption by mortgaging the land on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway should not be declared ilegal.

Chairman of the ACC, governor of Bangladesh Bank, officials concerned of the BFIU and others concerned have been asked to respond to the rule.

A news item titled as ‘Looting Tk 15 crore by showing mortgage of government highway’ was published in a Bengali daily on April 16. Following the news item, the writ petition was filed by Supreme Court lawyer Obaid Ahmed in the High Court on April 21, seeking an inquiry into the matter.

According to the news report, a notorious fraudster named Mohammad Golam Farooq had taken a loan of Tk 15 crore from the private bank by mortgaging government land on the highway. He managed some dishonest officials of the bank to grant him the loan.

After the fraudulence was detected, Farooq amended the document by changing the holding number of the previously mortgaged land and submitted it to the bank.

When the bank tried to put up a signboard on the land of the amended plot number, it was discovered that the land belongs to someone else named Jamir Ali. He was attacked several times by Farooq’s men for the possession of the land.

It was reported that a portion of Dhaka-Mymensingh highway at Azampur of Uttara was acquired in 1948. Farooq made a fake record of that land in 2006. He bought the land for Tk 30,000 in his wife’s name in 2010 and made another fake record. He later recorded the land in his name from his wife. He made the forgery to embezzle money after taking the bank loan.

Some unscrupulous officials at the sub-registry office and the land office assisted him. The land belongs to the government roads and highways department.

The lawyer for the writ petition said that even after the report was published in the media, the agencies concerned did not take any action.

Meanwhile, Farooq was held by Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) with his accomplice Firoze al-Mamun on April 14. However, RAB sources said that Farooq was held in connection with an attempt to murder case.