Litany Of Allegations |
Salauddin Quader Chowdhury
Holding sway down to the grubby politics at the grassroots from the top rung of power, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury has allegedly been involved in numerous crimes ranging from the bloody genocide of 1971 to gunrunning to murder and extortion.
He was the parliamentary affairs adviser to the immediate past prime minister, Khaleda Zia. He had served as a minister during the despotic rule of Ershad. He was first elected to parliament in 1979 on the Muslim League ticket and then in 1991 from the National Democratic Party. He joined the BNP in 1996.
He vied in vain for the secretary general post of the Organisation for Islamic Conference (OIC) in 2004.
A notorious war criminal, Salauddin is reportedly one of the masters in arms trafficking in Southeast Asia and is learnt to have strong links with international gold smuggling rings as well.
Staunchly opposed to the Liberation War, he and his father Fazlul Quader Chowdhury marshalled a gang to collaborate with the Pakistan army in 1971.
They used their house as a concentration camp where scores of minority community members and freedom fighters were slaughtered. Accused specifically of slaying Principal Natun Chandra Singha on April 13,1971, he has yet to be prosecuted for working hand in glove with the Pakistanis to commit brutal war crimes against the Bangalees.
On his return from self exile in London in 1974, he built up an army of mercenaries. Since then, he has been carrying out a reign of terror in Chittagong particularly across Rangunia, Raozan, and adjacent Fatikchhari upazilas. There, he would move with a convoy of over a dozen cars carrying a posse of henchmen.
A number of convicted and listed killers, kidnappers and robbers work under his command in those three upazilas. Using his influence over the lower judiciary, he had many of them either released or acquitted on different charges during the last BNP-Jamaat rule.
Rajanagar Union Chairman Nurul Azim, accused in seven cases including two for murders, and Parua Union Chairman Ibrahim, accused in 11 cases including three for murders, are two of those who would shadow Salauddin during his outings in the area.
His viciousness sends a chill not only down the spine of local leaders and workers of rival political parties but also of those belonging to factions within his own organisation.
From farmers to businessmen, all suffered greatly at the hands of his hoodlums. Members of the minority communities were the worst affected.
He has long been accused of gold smuggling that came in evidence when 21 kilograms of gold was recovered from his ship called "QC Til". The case filed in that connection continues till date.
He however manoeuvred brilliantly to have the other allegations of gold smuggling against him quashed during successive governments over the last three decades.
In May 2001, Salauddin and 26 others were charged with the murder of Shahidul Alam Nitol, a leader of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal Chittagong unit. Nitol was gunned down right in front of Salauddin's Good Hills residence. Yet again, he managed to have his name dropped from the charge sheet within a month after the BNP-led coalition came to power the same year.
Of the 50 people murdered in Fatikchhari, which is considered a SQ Chowdhury bastion, some 30 were local Awami League activists.
Former communications minister Nazmul Huda was widely accused of making brisk money through corruption in introducing CNG-run auto-rickshaws and allocating land for filling stations during the tenure of the immediate past BNP-led four-party alliance government.
Huda even allotted a costly piece of land of Bangladesh Railway in the heart of the city for his wife's human rights organisation for a minimal price.
He also played the key role in awarding the 900-metre Karnaphuli Bridge project to a pre-determined Chinese bidder, allegedly backed by Hawa Bhaban, based on a faulty design in July last year.
The government, however, did not take any measure to investigate the allegations. Former prime minister Khaleda Zia rather scolded the chairman of a parliamentary standing committee for his initiative to investigate these allegations.
Huda, vice-chairman of BNP, was elected from Dhaka-1 constituency three times and was made information minister for the 1991-1996 tenure of the then BNP-led government and communications minister for 2001-2006.
Huda is considered the most corrupt among the ministers in the four-party alliance government. Even a few of his party colleagues raised voices against his alleged corruption, including taking bribes and illegal commissions from various parties, while introducing the CNG-run auto-rickshaws and CNG filling stations.
It is alleged that Huda collected a huge amount by making clients pay Tk 3 lakh for a CNG-run auto-rickshaw whereas its real price was about Tk 1.5 lakh. He also took bribes for providing registration numbers for about 25,000 auto-rickshaws.
The parliamentary standing committee on communications ministry formed a sub-committee to investigate the allegation but the sub-committee could not do its task because of Huda's non-cooperation.
Even a new allegation arose that the corrupt minister "managed" the lawmakers, who raised the issue of his corruption at the committee meeting, by providing them with extra financial facilities.
Huda gave a piece of railway land worth more than Tk 5 crore to his wife's human rights organisation for just Tk 5,000.
He also allotted railway land for different private companies and organisations in exchange for bribes.
The authority for allocating land for filling stations was later given to the then state minister for communications Salauddin Ahmed.
Huda is also alleged to have taken commissions from bridge toll collectors and road construction contractors across the country, making hundreds of crores of taka.
Noor-e-Amina, Huda's palace in hometown Dohar, reflects the enormity of his wealth, which he amassed in different ways in the last five years. He also established a dazzling modern farmhouse by Dohar-Srinagar road beside the Padma.
According to media reports, a brother of Huda used to control transfer of officials of the Roads and Highways Department (RHD) during Huda's tenure as communications minister. The two brothers allegedly took a huge amount of money from the officials for transfers.
Many people loyal to Huda also made money in the name of road construction during the last five years as he favoured them while awarding the contracts.
KARNAPHULI BRIDGE CONTROVERSY
The project funded by the Kuwait government will not serve its purpose for all the fund going waste and cause heavy siltation in the river.
The Kuwait government at first did not want to release the fund noticing flaws in the Chinese bidder's design, but the then prime minister personally lobbied for the release of fund giving assurance that the designs will be "corrected".
The Tk 338 crore contract was signed with China Major Bridge (CMB) following a series of protests and a writ petition. Huda reportedly silenced Chittagong city Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury and other protesters by awarding them civil contract jobs related to the bridge construction.
The RHD sought for a suspension bridge over the Karnaphuli. Since building such a bridge is too costly, the RHD tender for the bridge allowed bidders to quote for a cheaper bridge with maximum three piers. But Huda made the RHD swallow a bridge with eight piers designed by the Chinese bidder.
When the project's Japanese consultant found the CMB design faulty, a committee comprising experts from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) was assigned to review the design.
That committee also rejected the CMB design, saying no bridge with more than four piers should be allowed on the Karnaphuli. Piers cause high level of sedimentation and should be avoided as much as possible considering the importance of the river, it said.
Experts said by putting eight piers instead of two or three, the CMB succeeded in becoming the "lowest" bidder. But such low bid is not desired. "In addition to causing siltation and the resultant loss of navigability, this bridge will bring in environmental catastrophe in the long term," said an expert.
Huda has been unusually hasty over the project due to political reasons and the communications ministry forced the RHD in January 2006 to slash the contractor's time required for site study in order to kick-start the project before the election.
Mossaddak Ali Falu
Mossaddak Ali Falu's life story from rags to riches can be traced back to his modest background as a simple Jatiyatabadi Juba Dal activist in the 1980s to his meteoric rise to one of the most influential media moguls and recognised political identities in the country.
Falu became a lawmaker in 2004 from Dhaka-10 constituency through a by-election that was widely reported to be rigged. He was also former political secretary to the immediate past prime minister Khaleda Zia. He is now the political secretary to Khaleda Zia.
He started amassing his wealth when he was the private secretary to the then prime minister Khaleda Zia in 1991 and remained in that position until 1996. During this period, he bought large tracts of land and built a college in his father's name in Savar.
He was the only BNP man with access to the inside of the then prime minister's office (PMO) during the first BNP term, after Ershad rule, between 1991-96. He made big money that served as his capital for future investments. He invested in factories, farms in Savar and land. He turned his modest home in Shahjahanpur in Dhaka into a palatial mansion.
During the Awami League rule between 1996 and 2001, he kept close contact with AL high-ups including the then home minister Mohammad Nasim, who was also arrested yesterday.
Until the BNP-led coalition came to power in October 2001, he did not posses a Tax Identification Number (TIN), which effectively meant he did not pay any tax until 2001.
After the BNP-led government came to power, he had a meteoric rise in fortunes within 31 months that saw him amass immeasurable wealth.
The value of his shares in different companies multiplied a hundred fold during this period of two and a half years, between 2004 and the end of 2006. He is one of the owners of two satellite TV channels, ntv and Rtv, as well as the daily Amar Desh. He acquired several plots of land, built palatial homes and made numerous large-scale investments.
Falu, in a frenzy, turned himself into the biggest media mogul in the country. He gave backdated signatures while ensuring his rights to the private television channel ntv soon after the BNP-led government had assumed power. This was followed by him launching a new Bangla daily, Amar Desh, in 2003.
According to information available from the statements he submitted to the returning officer (RO) on January 9, 2007, Falu's wealth is just over Tk 36 crore since May 24, 2004 when he had contested for Dhaka-10 by-election. This amount is reported to be well below his accumulated wealth, even if the current market value of his properties, assets and share prices are not included.
Five of his associates also confessed to Bangladesh Bank in late 2006 that they took over Tk 31 crore in "benami" loans under fictitious company names, for which Falu along with his brother Hashmat Ali were the guarantors.
Falu, in the 2007 statement, in his liabilities showed a loan of Tk 67,72,890 for the purchase of a car from BFIC (it was not made clear what is BFIC). But he did not show his car in his wealth statement. The only explanation for this could be he used the money for other purposes which is tantamount to criminal offence.
Falu did not show how much tax he pays. In the statement, he did not show any bill for telephones at his residence.
He also did not submit his statement papers for income tax returns to the returning officer despite being the richest among all of BNP candidates running for constituencies under Dhaka district. His statement also shows his properties and land prices well below the market value.
Iqbal Hasan Mahmood
Iqbal Hasan Mahmood served as the state minister for power of the four-party alliance government for the majority time till May 21, 2006 when he was removed to pacify widespread public anger due to severe power crisis, which was the result of directionless and corrupt leadership of the past government.
While the then prime minister Khaleda Zia held the portfolio of the energy and power minister, Mahmood was responsible for carrying out day to day affairs of the power ministry on the surface.
Known as a "Hawa Bhaban nominee", Mahmood failed to demonstrate leadership as the then Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and a committee headed by the then principal secretary to the prime minister were taking a lot of executive decisions.
Prior to his departure, Mahmood had publicly indicated that he had no executive power as the PMO and specifically the principal secretary was taking all the decisions. He had indirectly passed the blame of his failure on the PMO.
Mahmood's most controversial role as the state minister was his reported stake in Khamba, a concrete power pole manufacturing company created by leaders of the Hawa Bhaban. Mahmood is said to be one of the 17 stakeholders of this company that was spearheaded by Giasuddin Al Mamun, a close friend and business partner of Tarique Rahman.
While talking to The Daily Star on the issue of Rural Electrification Board (REB) power poles corruption in late 2005, Mahmood was asked if he held a stake in Khamba. He replied that many were spreading words that he had a stake in that company. He neither refuted the allegation, nor accepted it.
Khamba is one of the 13 pole manufacturing companies which drained out more than Tk 1100 crore by selling over-priced poles to the REB for five years. The so-called competitive bids were all pre-arranged and contracts were awarded under pressure, influence and through corruption. The REB's rural electrification job could have been done by spending less than Tk 400 crore if there were no corruption.
Khamba has reportedly claimed a stake of 20 to 25 percent of this Tk 1100 crore business.
While Mahmood allegedly got busy with personal business in the power sector while holding a chair, the alliance government's inaction and wrong actions had led the country to a daily load shedding of nearly 2000 megawatts. The country now demands 5200 MW power, while it can generate between 3000MW to 3500MW.
This failure had triggered violent protests in Kansat, where people demanding smooth power supply were killed. As protests continued to brew, the then prime minister decided to remove him. Sources had told The Daily Star that reports of various intelligence agencies also went against Mahmood at that time.
Though Mahmood in various public forums have denied any corruption in his domain, the agencies reported that he has amassed huge deposits with some foreign banks and that he made a fortune out of various raw deals in the power sector.
NOT A SINGLE FAIR DEAL IN POWER SECTOR
When the alliance government came to power, it got the fruits of the previous government's success in the sector as there were various power projects totalling 1400MW generation capacity under implementation.
Iqbal Hasan Mahmood put a full stop to private power initially, saying that it was draining the national exchequer.
According to the power sector master plan of 1995, it was essential to generate 5000MW power to meet the demand of 2006. To achieve this target, the government needed to produce 1800MW additional power. But in its five years rule, the alliance government's only power deal was the 80MW Tongi power plant under government fund, awarded to a dubious Chinese company Harbin.
Harbin had also signed a deal for building a 90MW plant in Fenchuganj and had finalised a deal to set up a 150MW plant in Chandpur amid a lot of controversies and irregularities.
One of the local agents admitted to The Daily Star in the past that they had to bribe a large number of officials and policymakers to have the deal done. The Tongi plant tripped more than 90 times since it started operating early 2005 and it remains inoperative.
While the onus of these deals partly go to Mahmood, he also has to partly share the responsibility of awarding the Meghnaghat-2 450MW power plant to Orion-Belhasa by severely violating rules and regulations. Neither Orion nor Belhasa ever built a power plant. The only merit of this company is Orion chief Obaidul Karim's proximity to Tarique Rahman.
Former finance minister M Saifur Rahman's son Naser Rahman emerged as a very influential person during the immediate past government and turned rich at a surprising speed through collecting commissions from businesses in exchange of winning tender bids as his reach extended to almost all departments of the government.
There is also wide range of allegations against Naser from extortion to grabbing of government land during the BNP-Jamaat-led coalition government rule.
Naser was elected member of parliament from Moulvibazar 3 constituency in the by-election on November 12, 2001 with BNP ticket. The seat went vacant after his father M Saifur Rahman dropped one of the two constituencies he had won in the general election of October 1, 2001.
Naser had established a monopolistic influence in banking sector during the alliance rule. He made a huge amount of money as he alone supplied all money counting machines for Bangladesh Bank and other nationalised commercial banks.
Many projects where Naser had direct or indirect interest and involvement were passed in the cabinet committee on purchase. He took a huge amount in commission for his role to approve projects from the purchase committee. He used to collect 15 to 25 per cent commissions from four-party alliance activists in exchange of winning their tenders of development works worth crores of taka.
During the coalition government Naser's loyalists were awarded work orders for development works worth around Tk 1,000 crore without any tender in public works, local government, water development board, zila parishads, public health department, roads and highways, north south irrigation project, forest department and pourasabhas.
For instance, one of Naser's close relatives won the work order of Tk 14 lakh project for constructing Syed Mostafa Fountain near the collectorate building in Moulvibazar town. Moreover, Naser influenced the authorities to allocate an additional Tk 10 lakh for the project.
It is also alleged that Naser received a whopping 20 per cent commission from contractor of the Tk 3.27 crore-bridge construction project at Lunguchhara on Moulvibazar-Kulaura road as he used his influence in winning the bid, said sources.
Sources also said Naser influenced the authorities to allocate a staggering Tk 30 lakh for constructing an alternative road, which hardly requires Tk 8 lakh, during construction of the bridge.
Naser allegedly collected Tk 30 lakh as commission for helping win a tender of Tk 8 crore for a road extension and sodium lights installation project in Moulvibazar Pourasabha.
He reportedly used government funds to erect barbed wire fences with concrete pillars around 15 square kilometres area at Hail Haor to protect his fish farm inside. He also allegedly spent public funds to fence his two privately owned houses in Moulvibazar.
On October 24, 2003, Nuruzzaman, a contractor, held a press conference at Dhaka Reporters Unity and alleged that Naser Rahman demanded Tk 2 crore from him after he had won a work order for the development work of Fenchuganj-Rajnagar-Moulvibazar-Jagadishpur regional highway.
Following his allegation, Naser filed a false case against Nuruzzaman under Speedy Trial Act. Later, Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal goons attacked Nuruzzaman and injured him seriously.
Naser used his political influence to obtain a lease on behalf of his elder brother Shafiur Rahman on a 200-acre hilly land for tea cultivation for a price of a stunning Tk 1000 at a rate of Tk 5 per acre only. Earlier, his brother Kaiser Rahman had acquired a lease on another 100 acres of land in the vicinity where landless people used to live. Naser himself grabbed around 60 decimals of land worth several lakh taka near Sarak Bhaban on the outskirts of Moulvibazar town by preparing forged documents.
Naser had reportedly bagged most work orders at National Board of Revenue (NBR) using his influence.
Sources also said Naser Rahman was the key player of a business syndicate responsible for unusual price hike of sugar during the immediate past government. His father, then finance minister M Saifur Rahman, was compelled to reduce import tariff on sugar before the end of fiscal year 2006-2007.
Besides, Naser patronised a powerful organised gang that emerged at Chittagong port, Dhaka Inland Container Depot and Zia International Airport.
He also has his grip on greater Sylhet as well as on police and civil administration in Moulvibazar. All postings and transfers in the area had to be approved by him while he made an enormous amount of money from new posting and transfer seekers.
Senior Awami League (AL) leader Mohammad Nasim was widely reported to have been involved in corruption when he was a cabinet member of the AL government during 1996-2001.
He was the minister for home affairs, post and telecommunications, and housing and public works ministries during the AL government's tenure.
The BNP-Jamaat government, after assuming office following the 2001 elections, filed three cases accusing Nasim of being involved in corruption as a minister of post and telecommunications ministry. But he was also allegedly involved with corruption in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Housing and Public Works.
A charge sheet was submitted on June 13, 2002 accusing Nasim of misappropriating public money by illegally appointing a consultant in the 3,00,000 digital telephone installation project. The World Tel Holdings Ltd was installing the phone lines. The charge sheet pointed out that Nasim appointed consultant for the project without tender notices and influenced the consultant to recommend World Tel for the job.
A charge sheet, submitted against Nasim on August 3, 2002, accused him of approving a work order to provide 2,00,000 personal handy phone system by the Bangladesh Telephone and Technology Private Ltd, ignoring recommendations of the T&T Board.
Another case accused him of being involved in misappropriating Tk 131.18 crore in installing digital telephone exchanges in different districts.
The High Court suspended the trial of these cases.
Besides, Nasim allegedly made brisk money by taking bribes for promotions and transfers in the police department.
Many AL leaders believe Nasim's corruption was one of the major reasons for their party's defeat in 2001 elections.
Amanullah Aman was one of the junior BNP leaders who made huge illegal money through using his close relation with BNP Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman.
Once a leader of BNP's student wing Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), Aman served the immediate past four-party coalition government first as the state minister for health and later in the labour and employment ministry.
Hailing from Keraniganj in Dhaka, Aman was elected in the parliament for three consecutive periods in 1991, 1996 and 2001. He was also made lawmaker in the controversial February 15 elections of 1996. Aman and his cadres beat up a lift operator at the Secretariat Building where he went as the state minister for education in the two-week long BNP government in 1996.
He invested most of his ill-gotten money in different businesses like housing, shopping centre, CNG station and buying lands in his constituency and in Savar, locals said.
But Aman tactfully kept his name away from the documents of most of the businesses, making his long-time friend Mahin Chowdhury their 'owner' under the name of Tanaka Group.
Aman built a commercial building on Gulshan Avenue and a luxurious house in Gulshan residential area in the capital. He has also bought some hundred bigha of land in Savar.
There are allegations that Aman influenced the concerned government authorities to award development works to the local criminal groups and used them to establish a stronghold in the area.
There are at least 57 cases against Aman under the Public Safety Act and he had been on bail in a case for attacking the Keraniganj Police Station.
Salman F Rahman
Awami League (AL) Advisory Council Member and industrialist Salman F Rahman has been accused of a number of financial crimes since the independence of Bangladesh while he became synonymous to loan default .
His financial influence helped him to gain strong political hold, by using which he 'plundered' public money through different ventures. For participating in the election that was scheduled for January 22, he managed court stay orders on his loan defaults from the nationalised commercial banks Sonali, Rupali and Agrani banks.
Salman F Rahman, vice chairman of Beximco Group, who got AL nomination for Dhaka-1 constituency, is still a loan defaulter for big amount of money with National Bank Limited.
He allegedly plundered huge amount of money by giving false information about his father's industry New Dhaka Industry when the industries were nationalised after the independence of Bangladesh. The money earned in this way helped him establish the business enterprise Beximco.
From then on, he did not have to look back, as he played the role of an opportunist during every government -- whether democratic or autocratic. He became owner of a huge amount of money, in both legal and illegal ways, especially during the governments of Ziaur Rahman and HM Ershad.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's Parliamentary Affairs Adviser Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury is a business partner of Salman Rahman. Their company Beximco has a number of enterprises that borrowed 2,600 crore taka from national and foreign banks and financial institutions. The enterprises are now defaulters of 425 crore taka.
A case was filed against Salman for smuggling Tk 300 crore in 1996, but he thwarted its proceedings using his financial and political influence. All the 13 companies under Beximco Group allegedly misappropriated hundreds of crore taka from the share markets by giving false information about the companies to the public.
One of his business enterprises also allegedly misappropriated more than Tk 100 crore in printing textbooks during the tenure of last AL government. The enterprise supplied the textbooks five months after the scheduled time.
At that time he also threatened the then Bangladesh Bank governor Lutfor Rahman to make him 'face consequences' if actions were taken against Salman for loan defaults. The then finance minister Shah AMS Kibria took steps for legal actions against Salman's illegal financial activities. The steps against the influential business tycoon, however, could not proceed much.
Salman contested in the 2001 parliament election with AL nomination from Nawabganj in Dhaka. He failed in the election, but not in business. He maintained close links with Hawa Bhaban and continued his 'legal and illegal' business activities.
His appointment as a member of the AL advisory council dissatisfied many 'genuine' AL leaders as well as AL's alliance partners, especially the leftist parties.
Salman Rahman's father Muslim League leader Fazlur Rahman was an education minister during the Pakistani regime and had good links with Jamaat-e-Islami during the 1971 Liberation War.
Sources said Salman F Rahman might have a hand in AL's signing the agreement with Khelafat-e-Majlish that allows the religious leaders to issue fatwa.
The law enforces recently barred him at Zia International Airport from going abroad.
Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu
Former BNP state minister for land Ruhul Quddus Talukdar Dulu allegedly helped the rise of militant kingpin Siddiqul Islam Bangla Bhai in greater Rajshahi area in 2004, while the ex-minister also raised a gang of criminals led by his cousins and nephews, who terrorised the people of Natore and gradually took over the district's underworld.
Dulu reportedly met with Bangla Bhai several times in 2004 and maintained the contact until the militant leader was arrested on March 6 last year. Several newspapers reported that on April 18, 2004, Bangla Bhai and his aides visited Dulu's house in Natore after openly holding a rally in front of an adjacent mosque. The then Natore Sadar assitant superintendent of police escorted Bangla Bhai back to his den allegedly under Dulu's direct instructions.
Dulu also allegedly sent a number of his hired hands to protect Bangla Bhai during the March 16, 2004 gunfight between the police and Bangla Bhai's gang on Sadhanpur Bridge, Rajshahi. When the police captured several of the criminals, they introduced themselves as the state minister's men. All but one of them were released that very night.
When Dulu's nephew Sabbir Ahmed Gama, who was notorious for criminal activities in Natore, was killed on February 7, 2004, Dulu's another nephew Dalim led a band who ransacked villages and burned down at least 40 houses with gunpowder.
Most of the victims were reportedly Natore Awami League leaders or activists, who later fled the district. When these attacks were reported, Dulu's men led by Natore Jubo Dal General Secretary Babul Chowdhury brutally attacked the daily Janakantha correspondent GM Iqbal Hasan on February 9, 2004.
According to a police report released in 2005, at least nine cases were filed in Natore in connection with the violence but all of the cases were closed as no-one dared to testify as witness. Locals even became scared to talk to the newsmen as Dulu's men had already assaulted several people for talking to the press.
Dulu was allegedly involved in the murder of Naldanga Chhatra League leader Afsar on the very night of October 1, 2001, when the BNP-led coalition won the national election. In 2002, Dulu's aide Dumbell's men killed two other AL men. In July 2004, another AL leader Ibrahim Hossain was picked up from his house and shot.
A number of others, including leaders of district AL and its front organisations, were seriously injured as they were beaten up, hacked and shot in public by Dulu's men throughout the course of 2005 and 2006.
Dulu's aides including Dumbell, Sohel, Tipu, Dollar and Ferdous led the attacks. District investigative officers said probes into all the incidents were stalled by the end of the BNP-led coalition government's tenure in late 2006.
Dulu is also reported to have made inactive the 'Lathi-Banshi Samity', an organisation of the Natore traders, when it took initiative to stop extortion in the district.
The former state minister chaired a meeting in 2003 where the Natore deputy commissioner banned the organisation for a month. After the organisation was allowed to function on condition of accepting the leadership approved by Dulu, it began to be used against the political opponents in the area.
Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin
During his four years as the state minister for civil aviation and tourism, Mir Mohammad Nasir Uddin was widely criticised for his alleged corruption in transfers, promotions, procurements, supplies and plundering crores of taka.
He allegedly misappropriated Tk 6 crore in buying two faulty and old F-28 aircraft in 2004 ignoring objections from the technical committee.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines had to pay a large amount of money to repair the faulty planes a few weeks after they were bought, sources said.
Despite Biman employees' demonstration against his corruption, the four-party alliance did not take any action against him.
Sources in the party said Mir Nasir used to address BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia "mother". Perhaps a reason why he was able to evade all those allegations, the sources added.
He was forced to resign in November 2005 following allegations of irregularities in transporting Hajj pilgrims.
Manjurul Ahsan Munshi
Manjurul Ahsan Munshi, a BNP lawmaker for three times from Comilla's Debidwar upazila, gained notoriety for reportedly beating up opposition leaders, extorting huge amount of money and creating a 'mobile force' of criminals who used to rape women and pillage in the area.
Munshi was infamous for publicly hitting senior opposition leaders and also used to extortion the shop and market owners, who were perceived to be Awami League (AL) sympathisers.
Reporters were barred from his rallies and processions and Munshi's cadres would often attack journalists' meetings and rallies.
He formed a 'mobile force' to assist him at the 2001 parliamentary elections. Later the group used to rape and kill several women, said sources adding at least two women were raped on their wedding nights in 2005.
There were also serious allegations against Munshi of influencing the local administration. He has been on record to have beaten two land ministry officials in front of a large crowd. He was also known for humiliating a number of civil servants publicly.
It was learnt that Munshi had collected resignation letters from all the teachers of private schools and colleges under his upazila to keep them under constant threat of being sacked.
Munshi's brother Atikuzzaman Babu had allegedly formed a 'force' to attack or harass opposition leaders and activists.
Babu was captured by the armed forces during Operation Clean Heart in 2002, but was released the next day.
Abdul Wadood Bhuiyan
Former BNP lawmaker Abdul Wadood Bhuiyan's name became synonymous with unchecked violence and corruption in the last five years of BNP-Jamaat rule. He was also alleged of provoking polarisation of indigenous communities and Bengali settlers in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
Along with his brother and nephew, Wadood terrorised the CHT district of Khagrachhari, severely beating up at least eight journalists. A few thousand leaders and activists of Awami League (AL) and even BNP left the district due to his cadres' repression.
He currently has eleven cases filed against him, including murder cases and cases filed under the Explosives Act.
In the last five years, since he was elected legislator, at least five deputy commissioners (DCs), five police superintendents, and a Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) regional commander were changed in Khagrachhari. It is alleged that those transfers were carried out under his orders.
The daily Samakal Khagrachhari correspondent Indrajit Banik had his bones smashed by Wadood's men, one of many incidents that silenced local journalists there.
He also filed 37 cases against journalists and newspapers, including Prothom Alo, accusing them of publishing "baseless and defamatory" news.
Wadood is accused in the Jubo League leader Yasin murder case. Assailants in 1999 hurled bombs at Yasin's car and then hacked and shot Yasin to death, soon after he joined the Awami League (AL) from BNP.
In 2002, Sirajul Islam hacked Yasin Member to death in front his family. Siraj was reportedly one of Wadood's bodyguards but not a single witness came forward to testify fearing a potentially fatal reprisal.
He is also reported to have been involved in the murder of Principal Madan Gopal Goswami in Manikchhari on April 25, 2002.
Wadood was also at the forefront of fanning up flames of ethnic violence between the two communities in CHT. He used local Bengali settlers' demand of cancelling the CHT Peace Treaty to win the 2001 elections and polarised district politics. Although he never publicly spoke against the peace treaty, he surreptitiously set up the "Samaodhikar Andolan" (equal rights movement) to act as a mouthpiece of anti-indigenous propaganda.
Before the BNP-led government came to power in October 2001, he owned a tin-shed house in Khagrachhari. It later turned into a palace-like mansion "Baithak", allegedly on three acres of state-owned land.
He reportedly has strong control over all eight upazilas in Khagrachhari, with his brothers, cousins, nephews and loyal deputies acting as the chief of gangs operating in the upazilas.
The lawmaker, who rose to the limelight during Ershad rule in the 80's, is reported to have earned at least Tk 150-200 crore in the last five years through extortion and other illegal means.
Wadood also allegedly took control over local projects of Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board, District Council, Local Government and Engineering Department, municipalities, Public Health and Engineering Department, Public Works Department and Department of Education Engineering worth Tk 200 crore in the last five years.
Men close to Wadood Bhuiyan carried out most of the criminal activities there. They are Afsar, Millat, Chairman Joynal, Abdus Salam, Contractor Selim, Mahfuz and Babul.
His men also allegedly shared the government ration allocated for the 2.5 lakh people in 78 Guchcha Grams (cluster villages).