Friday, July 27, 2012

200 plots allotted illegally in Tejgaon Industrial Area; Probe Findings on Fraud

Hotirjheel Project Area

Probe body found massive irregularities in the process of plot allotment in the Hatirjheel, Begunbari and Tejgaon industrial areas of Dhaka city.

The concerned authorities have distributed the lands among chosen persons on political and personal considerations, according to probe findings. 2 hundred such plots were allotted to individuals and organizations at nominal price. Sources said, land worth taka 1 crore per bigha was allotted in exchange for taka 1 lakh only.

The government is considering taking back the lands scrapping the allotments. But the process of redemption is yet to be finalized.

According to a report published in a leading vernacular daily, the corruption through which the plots were allotted came to the light in the findings of a committee which was formed in pursuance of a High Court order for investigating the matter.

On May 22, 2012 the High Court had asked the cabinet secretary to form a probe committee to look into the matter of illegal plot allotment in city’s Tejgaon industrial area. The court also asked the authorities concerned to submit a list of the persons who has got allotment there.

Later, a committee was formed headed by external resources division secretary Ikbal Mahmud. The committee members are LGRD secretary Abu Alam Md Sahid Khan, Law secretary Jahirul Islam and a joint secretary of Home Ministry.

As per the court order, the committee is to scan the issues of legality and transparency in the allotment process. It is also to find out any corruption committed in the process. It is scrutinizing whether permission of the Ministry of Environment and Forests was taken before the allotment.

The committee held its fourth meeting yesterday. After coming out of the meeting, Ikbal Mahmud said the officials concerned and the beneficiaries in connivance with each other misappropriated the government lands in the name of allotments. He said the committee has identified serious irregularities in the process.

Allotment of the lands was awarded to 200 persons and organizations. He, however, said the committee members are holding more scrutiny to determine whether the plots were allotted after adhering to rules and fulfilling terms and conditions. He said after detailed investigation, they will submit their findings to the court. Asked whether findings will be disclosed to media, he said they will have to take court’s permission in this regard.

Committee member Abu Alam Md Sahid Khan said they have come to know from the investigation that not a single plot was allotted taking clearance from environment ministry. The plots worth crores of taka were allotted at the behest of the concerned minister’s instruction at nominal prices, he added. He said the authority did not publish any advertisement inviting application from interested persons to distribute the plots through favoritism and nepotism. Sahid Khan said they will file a petition to the HC seeking extension of deadline for the committee as more time is necessary for thorough investigation.

LGRD secretary said the investigation which is pending now involves plot allotment to 11 news media houses and nine other organizations including telecom and RMG factory, flower mill and filling station. No advertisement was published, permission was not taken from Department of Environment (DoE) and proper value of the land was not fixed in case of allotment of the above organizations.

Another reliable source said On May 22, a division bench of HC comprising Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim directed the concerned authorities to form a committee to investigate corruption in the plot allotment in the area.

On that day, former editor of Daily Jaijaidin Shafiq Rehman and two former state ministers Ziaul Haq Zia and Major (retd) Kamrul Islam appeared before the court. On May 16, the court summoned Shafiq Rehman to appear before the court on May 22 for clarifying his role in taking allotment of plot illegally in Tejgaon industrial area. The court also directed opposition BNP lawmakers Ziaul Haq Zia and Major (retd) Kamrul Islam to submit statements swearing in affidavit disclosing their amount of properties located in the capital.

The court asked the Public Works Department to see whether the environment and surroundings are affected for plot allotment. And also ordered Anti Corruption Commission to examine if there was any corruption in plot allotment process.

This report is excerpts of the news published in the daily sun. Report edited by

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