The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) finally approved a charge sheet yesterday against eight persons, including Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman, former state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and former lawmaker Qazi Saleemul Huq Kamal, in connection with taking Tk 21 crore bribe over the murder of a Bashundhara Group director.
The other accused are Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan Shah Alam and his two sons Shafiat Sobhan Sanvir and Sadaat Sobhan, Abu Sufian, director of East West Property Development Pvt Ltd, a sister concern of Bashundhara, and Tarique’s private secretary Mia Nur Uddin Apu.
The ACC accused them of taking and giving the bribe to save the Bashundhara Group chairman’s son Sanvir from the charge of murdering Humayun Kabir Sabbir, a director of Bashundhara Group, on July 5, 2006.
ACC Deputy Assistant Director Abul Kashem filed a case in connection with the bribery on October 10 last year, accusing six except Tarique and Saleemul. In an investigation later, investigating officer ACC Deputy Assistant Director Rupak Kumar Saha found involvement of the two.
The three-member ACC approved the charge sheet at a meeting yesterday, said a source in the commission, adding that the ACC also issued a letter to the investigating officer informing him of the approval.
Sources said investigation found that Tarique had taken Tk 1 crore out of the Tk 21 crore bribe offered by Shah Alam in cash.
Of the remaining amount, Tk 6 crore was paid in cash and Tk 14 crore through cheques and pay-orders to Babar, who mobilised the amount to the bank account of Saleemul Huq in Prime Bank. Saleemul was the chairman of the bank at that time.
Babar realised the bribe at different times between August 7 and September 13, 2006.
“The allegation against Saleemul is that he kept the illegal money in his account and drew Tk 88 lakh interest against the amount,” said a source.
Sanvir allegedly killed Sabbir on July 5, 2006 using a broken bottle over a feud centring a woman and threw the body from a building in the Bashundhara residential area, according to Rapid Action Battalion sources.
After the murder, Abu Sufian arranged a meeting among Babar, Tarique, Shah Alam and Apu to save Sanvir. At the meeting Babar demanded Tk 100 crore bribe but after bargaining it was fixed at Tk 50 crore.
After a few days, Shah Alam sent Tk 1 crore to Tarique via Apu. The remaining Tk 20 crore was transacted through Sufian to Babar. With the change of government in October, further transaction was stopped.
During this transaction, Saleemul was safeguarding the bribe money, sources said.
After the present caretaker government took office and the joint forces started anti-corruption drive, Saleemul tried to save his skin by giving the money to the national exchequer.
“But he is a protector of this bribe money and he benefited by taking 6.5 percent interest against it,” said an ACC official.
Both Tarique and Babar are now in jail, while Shah Alam, his two sons and Saleemul have been absconding abroad. Sufian is in hiding in Dhaka.
Investigating officer Rupak Kumar Saha yesterday told The Daily Star that he is yet to be informed about the ACC approval of the charge sheet.
ACC Director General (Admin) Col Hanif Iqbal acknowledged the approval, saying the charge sheet will be submitted before the court shortly.
The charges have been brought under sections 161, 165 and 165(A) and 109 of the Penal Code and section 5(2) of the Corruption Prevention Act, 1947 (CPA). The penal code sections deal with bribery and abetting such an act while the CPA section deals with misuse of power.
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