The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in March last year filed a suit against five government officials and a union parishad chairman on allegations of misappropriating rice of a government project in Thakurgaon sadar upazila.
The anti-graft body, however, has recommended withdrawing of the case as the accused are ‘honourable’ persons and the amount of money they misappropriated is ‘small’.
The accused are former project implementation officer of Thakurgaon sadar upazila Golam Kibria, sadar upazila food controller Biplab Kumar Sinha Roy, acting officer at a government food warehouse Sahab Uddin, acting officer at Gareahat food warehouse Maidul Islam, Shibganj food warehouse acting officer SM Golam Mostafa and Dholarhat union parishad chairman Simanta Kumar Barman.
Investigation officer ACC’s Dinajpur coordination office deputy assistant director Saidur Rahman said all the accused are honourable persons. The amount of misappropriated money is also small. They already have suffered one kind of punishment as they have deposited the misappropriated money to the government exchequer and were in lock-up for long. That’s why it has been recommended to release them from the case.
‘Aggrieved people’ of the area, however, on 23 December submitted a written plea with the ACC chairman to reinvestigate the case.
In 2018, Thakurgaon district administration allocated 217 tonnes of rice as general relief (GR) for distributing as food at waaz mahfil (religious sermons programme of Muslims) at mosques, naam joggo (religious programme of Hindus) at temples and orphanages.
Thirty four tonnes of rice was allocated for 34 projects in Dholarhat union. But the chairman Simanta Kumar Barman allegedly misappropriated most of the rice making forged papers with the help of government officials. Prothom Alo published a report about this on 10 September 2018.
ACC began investigations into the incident in March 2019. Upon finding the allegations true, assistant director at ACC’s Dinajpur coordination office Ahsanul Kabir on 13 November filed a suit against six people on charges of misappropriating six tonnes of rice.
Later, the accused were arrested. Currently, all of them are on bail.