Vol. 5 Num 1068 Sun. June 03, 2007  
Front Page

Hasina regularly took money from magnates
Jalil tells joint forces

The detained high profile political and business leaders continue to divulge startling information to the Task Force for Interrogation (TFI) about their corruption.

According to their confessions political party high-ups and government ministers were submerged in rampant nomination trade during elections, shared among them regular monetary contributions from businessmen and foreign companies in exchange for government business contracts, and extorted money from suspected criminals in exchange for saving them from the law.

Detained former FBCCI president Abdul Awal Mintoo might be made a state witness in the case against Awami League (AL) president Sheikh Hasina in connection with a high-tech frigate purchase scam, sources said. Mintoo told interrogators that Korean company Daewoo bribed Hasina Tk 1 crore to close the deal. The amount was deposited to an account which she supposedly has been using for the purposes of her party politics on her own discretion.

Sources said detained AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil told TFI that his party chief Hasina regularly received money from several industrialists and businessmen. He said she used to receive Tk 50 lakh to Tk 1 crore from each of those businessmen before launching any political programme or a movement.

Jalil also confessed that before the recently stalled general election, established businessmen and other wealthy people competed for AL tickets, and it was not a problem for people with illegally earned money to win party nominations, the sources said.

During the period some younger party leaders like Hasina's cousins Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and Sheikh Helal, Obaidul Quader, and Jahangir Kabir Nanak also partook in the thriving nomination trade.

Jalil, who was arrested from his Marcentile Bank on May 28, is now on a four-day remand, being quizzed by TFI about the AL leadership, Marcentile Bank, the infamous April 30 deadline, formation of syndicates which monopolised the business of essentials giving rise to price spirals, and about the affairs of Janatar Mancha.

Meanwhile, detained former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar admitted to earning a humongous amount of money and properties through corruption. He became close to Tarique Rahman by playing a vital role in arranging a regular flow of extortion money from different businessmen for Tarique.

Apart from taking bribes from Bashundhara Group, Babar also received a large sum of money from the suspected killers of Chittagong businessman and BNP leader Jamal Uddin Ahmed, and the killers of another shipping businessman who was also a BNP leader, in exchange for saving the suspects from prosecution. The shipping businessman was abducted and killed for a ransom of US$ 70 lakh.

Sources said Babar admitted to the interrogators that the killers of the shipping businessman bribed Babar with US$4 lakh in Singapore for saving them from the murder charges.

Detained AL Presidium Member Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim admitted to the interrogators that while he was the health minister, he took two percent of $27 million from East Coast Group, a local agent of a Russian power generation company, for letting the company have a contract for setting up a section of Siddhirganj power plant.

He also admitted to taking Tk 5 lakh as a bribe from Nasimul Alam Chowdhury of Borura in Comilla in exchange for an AL nomination.

Another detained top businessman and Partex Group Chairman MA Hashem explained to the interrogators how he increased his wealth. He told them that he himself does not even know the total amount of land he owns, but he could recall that he owns 549 bighas of land in and around the capital, of which 500 bighas are either of the government or disputed lands.