Vol. 5 Num 956 Thu. February 08, 2007  
Front Page

Ex-IOJ MP Shahidul held
Salahuddin, Lobi given 30-day detention

Security personnel arrested Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish leader and former lawmaker Mufti Shahidul Islam in Dhaka yesterday in addition to the 19 high-profile politicians already netted in the ongoing anti-corruption crackdown.

Shahidul, an Afghan war veteran facing allegations of having militant connection, surrendered to battalion-2 of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) as per party decision.

Meantime, arrested former state minister for communications Salahuddin Ahmed and former BNP lawmaker Ali Asgar Lobi were sent on detentions for 30 days yesterday.

The law enforcers also arrested the presidents of Barisal district unit Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) and Jessore district Jubo Dal, and Shailakupa municipality chairman.

Members of the armed forces arrested 117 people, including 28 criminals, and seized three firearms from different places across the country in 24 hours ending at 6:00am yesterday, according to a home ministry press release.

The police and Rab personnel arrested 1,556 people, seized 14 firearms, 23 bullets and one bomb, said the release.

Of the arrestees, 800 face arrest warrant, 14 are convicted in different cases, seven are accused under the Arms Act and three under the Explosive Substances Act.

Rab men raided Shahidul's house on Babar Road at Mohammadpur in the capital several times on Sunday night and Tuesday but did not find him. They left a message for Shahidul asking him to meet Rab-2 officials.

After Rab men contacted him again over phone around 12:30pm yesterday, Shahidul met senior party leaders who advised him to surrender.

"Shahidul went to Rab office at Moghbazar with a few of our leaders and he was arrested," Khelafat Organising Secretary Humayun Kabir told The Daily Star.

Shahidul was later taken to the joint interrogation cell at the Rab headquarters in Uttara, Rab-2 Commanding Officer (CO) Akbar Hossain told The Daily Star.

Shahidul, also a leader of Islami Oikya Jote (Shaikhul Hadith), was elected an MP from Narail-2 in the by-election with BNP-led four-party alliance's ticket after Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina relinquished the seat.

Hasina alleged that Shahidul had militant connections when he was a lawmaker during the immediate past BNP-led four-party coalition's rule.

Shahidul, however, got nomination from the AL-led grand alliance to contest the scraped January 22 parliamentary elections from Narail-2 following a five-point memorandum of understanding signed between Khelafat Majlish and AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil on December 23.

After surrendering to the joint forces on Tuesday, both Salahuddin and Lobi were taken to undisclosed places. They were handed over to Gulshan police yesterday.

Detectives took the two to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's court at 4:00pm yesterday amidst tight security.

The police submitted a forwarding report to the court saying Salahuddin embezzled huge money when he was the state minister for communications through corruption in the name of setting up CNG filling stations and development work of roads and highways.

The report also said he obstructed public safety and discipline and was involved in destroying the country's economy and needs to be detained under the Special Powers Act in order to refrain him from destroying economy and hampering public safety.

During the hearing of his bail petition, Salahuddin along with his lawyer brushed aside all allegations brought against him and lashed out at the present caretaker government saying it has taken a stand against politics.

"We are now in a situation where the relatives of former ministers and lawmakers cannot know their whereabouts after arrest," Salahuddin said.

The forwarding report for Lobi said he misappropriated a huge amount of money when he was the president of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) through corruption in the name of development of the board.

He bagged a huge sum of money through political influence in the name of development in different projects at different places in Khulna, the report added.

While moving his bail prayer, Lobi's lawyer described the allegations as false and concocted.

"The cricket sector saw most development when Lobi was in the BCB. Earlier, cricket matches used to be held only in Dhaka, but now they are being held in Bogra, Khulna and Chittagong because of his initiative," the lawyer said.

"The only fault of my client is that he owns Hawa Bhaban," he said.

Hearing both sides of the two petitioners, Metropolitan Magistrate Selina Akhter rejected their bail petitions and ordered to send them to Dhaka Central Jail on a 30-day detention.

In Barisal, the joint forces arrested district JCD President Manowar Hossain Jipu yesterday in Brown Compound area in the city. He was being interrogated at the joint forces' camp in the evening, reported our correspondent.

Local authorities said Jipu faces allegations of toll collection and extortion, but his family members claimed there is no case against him with any police station.

In Jhenidah, the joint forces arrested Shailakupa municipality Chairman Khalilur Rahman yesterday noon in the court area in the town, our correspondent reported.

The police said he was arrested on charges of land grabbing and harassing innocent people.

In Jessore, the joint forces arrested district Jubo Dal President Ahsanul Haque Munna along with his accomplice Feroz Khan Tuesday night. They were later handed over to Kotwali police.

Earlier on Tuesday, the forces arrested Jamal Sarker, Savar upazila unit president of BNP and chairman of Tetuljhara Union Parishad, at his office at Hemayetpur. After interrogation at the army camp, he was later handed over to local police.

In Gazipur, the joint forces yesterday arrested Afzal Hossain Sarker, vice president of Students' Union of Bhawal Badre Alam University, in Naojor area. They also arrested three alleged criminals--Mizan, Mofiz and Idris--in Tongi.

Meantime, law enforcers visited AL leader Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir's village home at Gulbahar in Kachua, Chandpur. Mohiuddin was arrested on Sunday and has been in jail since Monday under a 30-day detention.

The law enforcers enquired about his relatives and about his property including land and houses.

Mufti Shahidul Islamright, former state minister and BNP leader Salahuddin Ahmed, middle, and former BNP lawmaker Ali Asgar Lobi being taken to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Dhaka yesterday. PHOTO: STAR