The investigation committee formed by Petrobangla to look into the Barapukuria coal scam submitted its report on Wednesday.
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid told reporters on Wednesday that they have received the probe report and will take actions against the persons involved with the coal misappropriation.
However, the authorities concerned declined to make any comment on the details of the report.
Besides, a case has been filed against 19 people in connection with the coal ‘disappearance’ scandal. They have been accused of embezzling Tk 230 crore.
The accused are– General Manager (Mine Operations) Abu Taher Md Nuruzzaman Chowdhury; Deputy General Manager Khaledul Islam; Managing Director Habib Uddin Ahmed; General Manager (General Service) Masudur Rahman Howlader; Manager (Production Management) Ashok Kumar Howlader; Manager (Maintenance and Operation) Arifur Rahman; Manager (Design, Construction and Maintenance) Jahidul Islam; Deputy Manager (Safety Management) Akramul Huq; Deputy Manager (Coal Handling & Management) Khalilur Rahman; Deputy Manager (Maintenance and Operation) Morsheduzzaman; Deputy manager (Production Management) Habibur Rahman; Deputy Manager (Mine Development) Zahidur Rahman; Deputy Manager (Ventilation Management) Satyen Nath Bharman; Manager (Security) Sayeed Imam Hasan; Deputy General Manager (Mine Planning Operation) Jobair Ali; Former Managing Director (Finance) Abdul Mannan Patwari and Gopal Chandra Saha; Former General Manager (Exploration), Company Secretary Abul Kashem Pradhania and Mosharraf Hossain.

Meanwhile, a six-member team of BCMCL, led by Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Md Fayez Ullah, visited the coal mine on Wednesday to survey the situation arising from the issue.

Earlier, four officials, including managing director Habib Uddin Ahmed, of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL) were barred from travelling abroad in the interest of investigations in the coal mine corruption allegations.

The ban was imposed by the immigration department on Tuesday in response to a letter from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The three other officers are BCMC Secretary Abul Kashem, General Manager Abu Taher Md Nuruzzaman Chowdhury and Deputy Managing Director AKM Khaledul Islam.

On Tuesday the ACC took the statement of Petrobangla Chairman Abul Mansur Faizullah on the corruption allegations. The ACC has sent letters to Petrobangla and PDB chairman, asking for proper information regarding the corruption of coal deposits.

ACC Deputy Director Shamsul Alam said, “We have begun the investigation. We will submit the report within 15 days, after reviewing all the issues.”

According to Petrobangla officials, the total stock of coal was not stolen in a day; rather it was done through a gradual process.

The stealing of coal is not new. Indeed, it has been going on for long. However, since this time the missing coal was in a huge quantity, it came to attention.
There are also irregularities in weighing coal during coal lifting from the mine.
Corruption and irregularities have been going on for a long time. The authorities clearly cannot avoid their liability over the situation.

Many among the local coal traders have alleged that for a long time, mining officials have been selling coal in collaboration with a section of dishonest coal traders. There was an incident of 300 tonnes of coal going missing through cheque forgery in 2017. At the time the money was deposited by the officials concerned in order to keep the matter under wraps. This time, though, they have tried to cover up the incident in the name of a systems loss.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ordered a full investigation into the disappearance of coal from the Barapukuria mine in Dinajpur on Monday.

The only coal-fired power plant in the country, Barapukuria Coal Power plant has been shut down owing to the ‘disappearance’ of 1.5 lakh tonnes of coal. There was a shortage of electricity supply in the northern region due to the closure of the 525MW power plant at 10pm on Sunday.

Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) said the production of gas and oil-based power plants has been increased to normalise the situation. Petrobangla has promised to increase gas supply to the northern power plant.

It would take around one month more for the situation to normalise after resumption of extraction by the end of August, the minister of state said.

Nazmul Likhon