Barapukuria Coal Scam: ACC swings into action
The Anti-Corruption Commission, which on July 23 began probing the coal going missing from the Barapukuria mine, shifted to high gear and is already smelling graft. The anti-graft body formed a committee to investigate the alleged scam involving 1.45 lakh tonnes of coal, worth over Tk 227 crore, going missing from the yard of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL). By 3:00pm, a team from ACC's Dinajpur office was at the mine in Parbatipur upazila going through documents. "After examining the papers and the coal yard of the mine, it appears that corruption had been committed here," said Benjir Ahmed, who led the five-member team. "As per the documents here, around 1.46 lakh tonnes of coal should have been at the yard, but, we found hardly 2,000 tonnes during the visit," said Benjir, deputy director of ACC Dinajpur.
Gold in BB Vault: Discrepancies raise question
Bangladesh Bank recorded some of the gold in its vault as low-grade ones although an investigation by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) found that they were of superior quality. The probe also revealed that the gold samples tested weigh more than that in the BB record books, raising questions about the central bank's seriousness in its vault management. The investigation between late 2016 and early 2017 found that the government could lose Tk 1.9 crore for the discrepancy in weight and karat, an indicator of the purity of gold. Based on a random sampling, the team checked 963.404kg of gold bars ornaments and gold cut pieces. It found they actually weighed 963.854kg, meaning there was a discrepancy of 0.45kg. In another case, examining 3.3kg of gold, it found there were 46 percent gold in them instead of 80 percent recorded by the BB.
Mahmudur attacked in Kushtia
Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman suffered injuries in an attack allegedly by BCL men on the court premises in Kushtia on July 22 after he was granted bail in a defamation case. The case was filed on December 10, 2017 for making “derogatory” remarks about Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at a seminar in Dhaka earlier that month. The BCL men with brick chips and sticks smashed the windscreen and some other parts of his car, witnesses said. Police allegedly remained silent spectators this time as well. Mahmudur took shelter in the room of advocate Shams Tanim Mukti, also general secretary of Mohila Awami League's Kushtia unit. BCL men allegedly stormed into the room and beat him up, leaving him with bloodied face and head.
Khaleda's bail extended till July 31
A Dhaka court on July 24 extended the bail of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia until July 31 in connection with Zia Charitable Trust corruption case. Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Judge Court-5 passed the order after Khaleda's lawyer Ziauddin Zia submitted a petition seeking extension of her bail. The case was filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) with Tejgaon police in August 2011 accusing Khaleda and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources. The other three accused are Harris Chowdhury, political secretary of then prime minister Khaleda from 2001 till 2006; Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary (APS) to Harris; and Monirul Islam Khan, APS to former Dhaka city mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka. Khaleda, accused in over 34 cases, is currently serving a five-year prison term in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.