Land ministry official turns land grabber

Land ministry official turns land grabber

Arrested by ACC, sent to jail

Staff Correspondent   The Daily Star

A personal officer at the land ministry grabbed about 16.5 decimal land of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) in the capital’s Gulshan in 2004, an ACC probe has found.

The anti-graft body arrested the man, Kutubuddin Ahmed, now officer on special duty (OSD), from Segunbagicha yesterday in a case filed in this connection with Gulshan Model Police Station.

Mirza Zahidul Alam, ACC deputy director and investigation officer of the case, produced him in a magistrate court, which ordered sending him to jail.

In 2008, during the caretaker government rule, a special court sentenced Kutubuddin to 13 years in jail for illegally amassing wealth worth Tk 1.44 crore and concealing information in his wealth statement submitted to the ACC.

He, however, got acquittal from the High Court. The Anti-Corruption Commission later filed an appeal, now pending with the Supreme Court, said its lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan.

Using his influence, Kutub had three gazette notifications issued from the ministry over return of the land to its owners from whom Rajuk earlier had acquired it, according to the case statement.

He then faked a sale process and for this showed his father-in-law and a former BSMMU professor as buyers and one Nazmul Islam Sayeed as the person with power of attorney.

The whole episode took place between October 1999 and August 2004.

The ACC later found that neither his father-in-law nor the former professor were in possession of the land. Rather, Kutub was living in a tin-shed house built there.

Nazmul was also made accused in the case, filed by the ACC deputy director yesterday.

The plot is part of 31.34 acres of land that Rajuk began acquiring in 1963-64 for the expansion of Gulshan-Baridhara residential model town.

In 1969, considering that the project would not be profitable, Rajuk decided to give back the land to their owners and asked the deputy commissioner’s office to take necessary steps.

Upon Rajuk’s request, the land ministry ordered returning the land, and many affected people gave back the compensation money they had got because of the land acquisition.

Later in 1977, Rajuk once again decided to acquire the land and the ministry cancelled its previous order.

The High Court, however, declared illegal the cancellation of the ministry order following a petition filed by one Khademul Islam Chowdhury.

Kutub then had the ministry issue the three gazette notifications by misusing his power, the ACC found.

Rajuk filed a petition with the HC against the gazette notifications and the court declared the ministry steps illegal. Land owners filed petitions with the HC and the Supreme Court, but their appeals were rejected.

After that Rajuk got ownership of the land.

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