Vol. 5 Num 1112 Tue. July 17, 2007  
Front Page

The case against her

The case in which Awami League President Sheikh Hasina was arrested yesterday was filed on June 12 this year by Azam J Chowdhury, managing director of Eastcoast Trading Private Ltd, with Gulshan Police Station.

The complainant accused Hasina and AL leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim of extorting over Tk 2.99 crore.

Russian power generation company Principal Messrs Techno Prom Export (TPE) obtained work order for the first phase of building and commissioning of Siddhirganj power plant in Narayanganj in 2000, Azam said in his complaint. And his company Eastcoast Trading Private Ltd was appointed local agent of the Russian company when Sheikh Hasina was prime minister.

Sheikh Selim was paid over Tk 2.99 crore in eight cheques between October 24, 2000 and March 14, 2001.

Another case was filed against Hasina on April 9 for extorting Tk 3 crore.

In the June 12 first information report (FIR), Azam mentioned that Shiekh Hasina's cousin the then lawmaker Sheikh Selim tried to be local agent of the Russian company TPE. Selim on different occasions tried to influence the TPE chief to serve his purpose, he added.

As all his attempts turned futile, Selim started putting pressure, and Azam met Selim at his Banani residence with the proposal of appointing him consultant for the second phase of the work and told him that he would be given a large amount of commission during the phase, the FIR said.

Angry at the proposal, Selim threatened to stop the work with the help of Hasina (the then PM) if the commission was not paid. Negotiations on payment of the money continued at Selim's residence.

Selim also threatened that the complainant would not be able to withdraw any bill from the PDB if he failed to pay him commission from the work. Threats were issued between June and July, 2000, the complainant said.

In July, 2000, they reached a verbal agreement for payment of two per cent commission amounting $5.8 lakh (equivalent to a little over Tk 2.99 crore) to Selim, Azam said. The commission was paid at Selim's residence in eight cheques of Standard Chartered Bank and Southeast Bank from October 24, 2000 to February 14, 2001, he added.

Selim did not interfere with the work after getting the commission, the complainant said, adding that many people including executives of his company are aware of the payment of commission to Selim.