Vol. 5 Num 933 Sat. January 13, 2007  
Front Page

Rapid raids to capture 'corrupt, godfathers'
A number of political leaders under watch; airports on alert; many go into hiding

Just hours into the declaration of state of emergency, the army raided the residences and offices of several political leaders and businessmen including former influential ministers on Thursday night.

The raids were carried out as part of a crackdown on 'corruptionists and godfathers of criminals', according to sources.

Troops detained Giasuddin Al Mamun, a close friend and business partner of BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman. They went to Channel 1 office around 2:30am yesterday. Not finding him there, the troops went to his house in DOHS in the capital, said sources. But it could not be confirmed from where and when he was detained.

However, Mamun was freed after several hours, said the sources. No government source confirmed the information.

The army also arrested former Awami League (AL) lawmaker Kamal Ahmed Majumder from his Banani residence.

Unconfirmed sources said the army also raided the residences of former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar, former BNP lawmakers Mosaddek Ali Falu, Mirza Abbas, Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu, Salahuddin Ahmed, Ali Asgar Lobi, and former AL lawmaker Haji Mohammad Selim.

Intelligence sources said about 30 leaders of the two main political parties -- BNP and AL have been put under surveillance.

According to sources, Tarique Rahman, former law minister Moudud Ahmed, former ministers Nazmul Huda, Mirza Abbas, former lawmaker Falu, and Dhaka City AL General Secretary Mofazzal Hossan Chowdhury Maya are also on the list of persons to be watched by the intelligence agencies.

Land and air ports have been alerted so that the listed persons cannot leave the country. "We've received a list of some people who have been barred from going abroad," a Special Branch (SB) officer said on condition of anonymity.

Although Ali Asgar Lobi was scheduled to go abroad yesterday noon, he was barred from boarding the flight, the SB officer said adding that Lobi's name is on the list too.

The army conducted raids in the capital all through Thursday night and the early hours of yesterday. They raided Babar's house in Gulshan, Falu's residence in New DOHS, Mirza Abbas' house in Shahjahanpur and Salahuddin's house in Demra, according to the sources.

None of the persons alleged to be on the list of 'corruptionists and godfathers' could be reached over the phone yesterday although sources said Moudud Ahmed and Mirza Abbas were staying in their residences.

Troops searched Haji Selim's house on Water Works Road in Lalbagh and took position in front of his house, according to the sources.

Troops also took position in front of Nasiruddin Pintu's house on Moneshwar Road, the sources said. Talking to The Daily Star, Pintu however denied the presence of army personnel in front of his house and the authenticity of the report of a raid.

The army arrested Kamal Majumder from his Banani house around 1:30am yesterday. As they knocked on his door in C Block, Kamal himself opened the door. He was handed over to Gulshan police around 4:00am.

"The army personnel arrested him on charge of patronising political clashes," duty officer Jasim (full name could not be known immediately) of Gulshan Police Station told The Daily Star.

He was later taken to the office of riot police in Mirpur-12 for interrogation. Gulshan police said he was also sent to court. Kamal's family members alleged that they were denied a meeting with him.

Sources said two officials of two big NGOs in the country, -- Abul Kashem Palash and Aminul Islam were also arrested.

Troops also raided the houses of ward commissioners Ahsan Ullah Hasan Shipu, Monwar Hossain Dipjol, Shamim Parvez, Munsi Bazlul Basit and Masud Khan of Mirpur, Arshad Ali Azam of Azimpur, Anwaruzzaman Anwar of Rajabazar and Chowdhury Alam of Malibagh. But none of them were at home, the sources said adding that most of the listed persons probably have gone underground already to avoid arrests.

Enamul Haq, a ward commissioner of Mugda, was also rounded up yesterday, locals said.