Vol. 5 Num 1021 Mon. April 16, 2007  
Front Page

Arafat 'picked up' in late night raid
Police raid Harris Chowdhury's residence, confiscate household items

The joint forces in a late night raid reportedly detained Arafat Rahman, younger son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, intelligence sources said.

They went to the BNP chairperson's Moinul Road residence in Dhaka cantonment at around 10:00pm and came out with Arafat at 1:10am.

In another raid yesterday, police confiscated some household items from the Gulshan residence of Harris Chowdhury, political secretary to immediate past prime minister Khaleda Zia.

At the time of filing this report at 3:00am, it could not be known on what charges Arafat was picked up and where he was taken as the joint forces as well as the intelligence agencies remained tight-lipped, declining even to confirm the raid.

A couple of hours before Arafat was taken away, top officials of the joint forces reportedly had gone to Khaleda's residence and had a lengthy negotiation during which the officials advised her to leave the country. She is learnt to have told the joint forces that she is ready to face any consequence but will not leave the country.

Unlike his elder brother Tarique Rahman, who was arrested on March 8 by the army-led crack forces, Arafat maintained relatively a low profile in business circle despite having monopoly in city's billboard business.

His advertising firm, Advance AD, allegedly wiped its opponents out of the market, thanks to his family influence. It has been in control of the most lucrative advertisement spots in the city during the last five years.

Tarique, also senior joint secretary general of BNP, who held a huge clout during the past five years of BNP-led alliance rule, stands accused in an extortion case. He was sent to jail on March 12.

The security forces on March 15 raided Arafat's Coco Navigations, also owned by Tarique's business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun, at Banani in the capital. In an hour-long raid they seized some documents from there.

Police yesterday also raided the Gulshan residence of Harris Chowdhury and confiscated some items from the house including 15 air conditioners, 27 ceiling fans, a suitcase and some furniture. The law enforcers said they will go back to the house again today to confiscate some more items since they could not enter the first floor of the house yesterday. The confiscated items were not yet deposited to the police station at the time of filing this report.

"We have conducted the raid following a court order," said Sub-Inspector Iqbal Hayet, who is also the investigation officer of a case filed against Harris earlier by the Anti-corruption Commission for non-submission of his wealth statement to the commission within a stipulated period.

Police said they went to Harris' house on Gulshan Avenue in the capital at 3:00pm and stayed there until 7:00pm.

Harris Chowdhury's name was on the first list of 50 graft suspects published by the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC), who were asked by the commission to submit their wealth statements to it in person within a stipulated time.

He was one of the four suspects against whom the anti-graft body filed cases for non-submission of wealth statements. The ACC also sought permission from courts to confiscate their movable and immovable properties.

Meanwhile, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested a ward commissioner of Dhaka City Corporation from Dhaka Renal Central and General Hospital yesterday.

Acting on a tip-off, a special team of Rab raided the hospital on Green Road in the city and arrested Abul Khayer Babul, commissioner of Ward No-49.

There are several allegations including extortion and encroachment of land against him, said a Rab news release.