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

Mokhles' last dirty trick
The controversial man was removed after he hoodwinked the media with fake censorship threat

Mokhlesur Rahman Chowdhury was removed yesterday from his post of adviser to the president after he tricked the country's private television channels into suspending broadcast of their news bulletins under a censorship threat in the first hours of the state of emergency.

Mokhles, whose trick however did not work for the print media, claimed to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Bangla Service that he resigned from the post and was not removed.

Soon after the declaration of a state of emergency Thursday night, Mokhles unilaterally called all private television channels and radio stations and issued a verbal order to immediately stop broadcasting of all news bulletins and political talk shows.

He also slapped a ban on newspapers from publishing news or cartoons criticising the government.

When Editor of The Daily Star Mahfuz Anam queried President Iajuddin Ahmed yesterday about the ban, the president said he was unaware of any such move and that if any such move has taken place it had been made without his knowledge.

The Public Information Department (PID) also informed The Daily Star last night that Mokhles personally ordered the PID to call the private television channels and radio stations for stopping their news broadcast.

Earlier, Mokhles repeatedly attempted to mislead the public by releasing to the media information that contradicted the decisions taken by the council of advisers.

The last glaring example of Mokhles' misdeeds was revealed when former adviser Dhiraj Kumar Nath categorically contradicted a statement Mokhles had released to the public on January 9, 2007.

Mokhles was appointed the president's press secretary in 2004 and was later given the extra-constitutional post of adviser to the president after Iajuddin took up the added responsibility of chief adviser to the caretaker government.

Bangabhaban sources accused Mokhles of violating regulations by attending the advisory council meetings and supplying confidential minutes of those meetings to the BNP while serving as the president's adviser.

On numerous occasions, Mokhles also spoke in those meetings--despite strong protests from the advisers--on possible courses of the caretaker government's action, sources added.

Government officials have alleged that Mokhles tried to exert his influence over postings and, in some cases, received money in exchange. He is also accused of demeaning senior government officials while speaking to them.