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Altaf charged with amassing Tk 2.5cr wealth illegally

Sigma Huda denied bail in bribery case

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday pressed charges against detained former home minister Altaf Hossain Choudhury in a case filed for amassing wealth illegally and giving false information in his wealth statement submitted to the commission.

The same day, a Dhaka court rejected the bail petition of detained Sigma Huda in a case filed for taking Tk 6 lakh bribe.

ACC Deputy Director Mohammad Moniruzzaman, also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, submitted the charge sheet against Altaf to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court showing 27 people as prosecution witnesses.

In the charge sheet, the IO mentioned that the charges brought against the senior BNP leader were primarily proved and he should be brought under trial.

On December 18, last year, the anti-graft body filed the case with Ramna Police Station accusing Altaf of concealing information about movable properties worth Tk 59 lakh and amassing Tk 2.56 crore beyond known sources of income.

The first information report (FIR) said that Altaf kept the ill-gotten wealth in his own name and in the names of his wife Suraiya Akter and daughter Jubaida Akter.

The former minister gave false information about loans and did not mention anything about the five firearms worth Tk 2 lakh that he purchased between 1974 and 2002, it said.

In addition, he concealed information about three savings accounts with Standard Chartered Bank.

In his wealth statement, Altaf said that he had lent Tk 14 lakh to his wife Suraiya, while she in her wealth statement said that her husband loaned her Tk 17 lakh.

Altaf also said that he purchased a jeep at Tk 8 lakh, but the actual price of the vehicle was Tk 20.17 lakh. Besides, he showed low price of the car he purchased in his wife's name.

Altaf Hossain submitted his wealth statement to the ACC on July 25, 2007 saying that he has wealth worth Tk 3.25 crore.

The BNP leader was arrested on May 28, 2007 for his alleged involvement in corruption.

SIGMA HUDA CASE
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Golam Rabbani passed the order rejecting the bail petition for Sigma Huda after her lawyers submitted it.

Her husband, detained BNP leader Nazmul Huda, is the principal accused in the bribery case.

On June 18, ACC Assistant Director Belal Hossain filed the case with Motijheel Police Station accusing the couple of taking Tk 6 lakh bribe from a contractor of Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge Authority.

The case mentioned that Nazmul Huda demanded bribes from the owner of a bridge maintenance firm in exchange for a work order for the maintenance of the Jamuna Bridge.

Huda was communications minister at that time.

As per his demand, the owner of the firm provided Huda Tk 6 lakh to the account of weekly Khoborer Antorale at the Amin court (Motijheel) branch of Agrani Bank in 20 cheques between September 30, 2004 and October 18, 2006, the case statement said.

Sigma Huda, who used to run the weekly, drew the money from the bank, the complainant said.

Nazmul Huda was earlier given different terms of punishment in bribery, corruption and extortion cases.

On the other hand, Sigma was acquitted of two extortion cases and given three years' jail a case on charges of aiding and abetting her husband in taking Tk 2.4 crore bribe from the proprietor of a construction firm.

On June 5, the HC granted three months' ad interim bail to Sigma Huda in the bribery case under emergency power rules (EPR).

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