Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  
Front Page

Arafat released after quizzing over graft

Arafat Rahman, younger son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, was released last night after intelligence officials interrogated him about his and his aides' alleged involvement in fetching a huge amount of money from different sectors by using clout.

Intelligence sources said the joint forces arrested Arafat, nicknamed Coco, after they found evidence of his involvement with corruption.

Joint forces arrested Arafat at 1:10am yesterday and quizzed him since his arrest. He was neither handed over to police nor produced before a court as of 10:00pm.

The sources also said Arafat was grilled about a string of issues including his control over setting up advertisement billboards in the capital through his advertisement firm Advance Ad, his local and foreign bank accounts and investments.

Advance Ad allegedly monopolised outdoor advertisement by using political clout and deprived the Dhaka City Corporation of huge amount of revenues.

Last month, the office of the firm was raided twice.

Intelligence officials also questioned him about his dubious links with Ali Asghar Lobi while he was the chairman of the cricket development committee.

They also quizzed him over his business establishment Rahman Navigations and its control over Dhaka-Barisal and other launch routes across Bangladesh.

He was asked about his brother Tarique Rahman, senior joint secretary general of BNP, and his business link with Giasuddin Al Mamun.

The sources also said the intelligence officials have prepared a list of Arafat's close friends and some of them have already been quizzed.

Intelligence sources said they gleaned information about Arafat's alleged corruption when they quizzed Tarique and a number of detained BNP leaders, former ministers and lawmakers who are already behind bars.

A taskforce will investigate the allegations against Arafat Rahman Coco, second son of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, said Communications, Shipping and Civil Aviation adviser MA Matin.

The joint forces picked up Arafat from the residence of Khaleda Zia early Monday morning on corruption charges.

"Of course there were specific allegations against him," Matin said responding to the query of the journalists yesterday.

The adviser, however, said he did not know about the allegations when the journalists asked him to go into details.

Asked about further arrest in future, MA Matin, who is also the chairman of a national co-ordination committee for combating crime and corruption, said the government will investigate case by case and people with specific allegations will be arrested.

The Anti-Corruption Commission will file specific cases against them after investigation of the taskforce, he said, adding that the ongoing drive against corruption will continue.

Matin was talking to the journalists after emerging from a board meeting of Bangladesh Shipping Corporation at the conference room of the Ministry of Shipping at the secretariat.