ACC to quiz Shajahan, Abbas over land allocation

The Anti-Corruption Commission is set to interrogate Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and BNP leader Mirza Abbas in connection with a case filed against former State Minister for Housing and Public Works Alamgir Kabir and three others.

ACC Deputy Director Jatan Kumar Roy yesterday served notices to the duo, asking them to appear before the ACC headquarters on October 12 and give their statements on the allocation of land to journalists.

The ACC is now carrying out an inquiry against Alamgir Kabir and three National Housing Authority officials for their alleged involvement with allocating land to a journalists cooperative at a lower rate than the actual price, a competent source told the Dhaka Tribune.

The ACC official had already recorded statements from former NHA Chairman Golam Nobi and former NHA Director Mehedi Hasan on September 21 and 22.

Earlier, the commission summoned Alamgir Kabir and 13 other officials, however all of them skipped the ACC interrogation as of Monday.

However, the commission is set to question six officials today. They are former NHA Chairmen Abu Syed, ATM Ataur Rahman and Abdul Khaleque, former member of NHA Mohd Ikramuzzaman, NHA Superintending Engineers Rafiqul Islam and Abdul Wahed Joarder.

According to the case filed on March 6, Alamgir Kabir in 2002 sent a letter to the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia with a proposal to develop a housing area for journalists, writers, artists and cultural activists, although they never requested him to do so.

The case was filed under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947.

In response, Khaleda Zia asked the public works secretary to take further steps in line with the housing policy. Following directives from Khaleda Zia, the then junior minister directed the secretary to allocate the land for personal gain.

Without taking prior permission from the ministry, the accused NHA officials and the former state minister allocated seven acres of land in Mirpur area to Dhaka Journalists’ Cooperatives Ltd at only Tk3.39 crore against the market value of Tk19 crore, violating the housing policy (amended) 1993.

“The allocated land was planned for ‘Jhilmil Multipurpose Cooperative Society’ but the former state minister allocated the land to Dhaka Journalists’ Cooperatives Ltd, though it did not request him to do so,” an ACC official said, requesting anonymity.

At that time, Shajahan Khan was the president of ‘Jhilmil Multipurpose Cooperatives Society’ and Mirza Abbas was the housing and public works minister.

So, the commission will record their statements, the official added.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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