Sunday, August 19, 2007

Senior teacher alleges 'illegal' action by Ruet authorities


Dr M Yakub Hossain
A senior teacher of Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Ruet), after serving 29 years with 'good records' has been 'illegally' put on forced retirement.

He was suspended a year ago by the university authorities 'without any fault and defying a note of descent' by two senior Syndicate members, Prof Dr M Yakub Hossain alleged at a press conference here yesterday. It was held at Rajshahi Metropolitan Press Club.

Dr. Yakub termed the Ruet decision 'highly prejudiced and intentional' and drew the attention of Chancellor of universities President Prof Dr Iajuddin Ahmed and Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed seeking justice.

He claimed that there is no bad record in his long service period.

"Ruet authorities did never allow me to defend myself. Rather, at times they suppressed and concealed my replies and gave me punishments one after another in last one year", he alleged.

"All these began when I was chairman of computer science and engineering department in 2005.

"A probe team (not approved by the Syndicate) ordered me to arrange a hearing against a junior teacher of my department without letting me know his faults."

"I sought a copy of the complaint (against the junior teacher) but was repeatedly ignored. I could not arrange the hearing without the complaint. For this, Ruet authorities blamed me for disobedience", Dr. Yakub said.

Meanwhile, the RU authorities rewarded the junior teacher by granting him education leave to go abroad.

Breaking norms of seniority and without issuing any notice, the Ruet authorities in January last year removed him from the post of chairman only a couple of months before completion of his two-year term and Dr Ruhul Amin was posted in his position, Dr. Yakub said.

He said he challenged Ruet decisions in High Court on February 5 last year. The HC stayed the Ruet decisions but it violated the court order, Dr. Yakub claimed.

In May last year, the authorities asked for an explanation from him against some allegations. He said he replied but the 13th Syndicate meeting 'arbitrarily' blamed him for not even receiving the official letter, the senior teacher claimed.

Three days after suspension, the letter seeking explanation was withdrawn and new charges were leveled against me, Dr. Yakub said. "I replied again in time", he said.

"But the authorities informed the Syndicate only about the allegations against me, not my replies. I was put on forced retirement at the 19th Syndicate meeting".

Two Ruet Syndicate members --RU vice-chancellor Prof Dr M Altaf Hossain and Prof Dr M Shafi Uddin Mia, dean of civil engineering at Ruetgave notes of descent against the decision, saying service rules were not followed in the decisions, he claimed .

Ruet vice-chancellor Prof Dr AFM Anowarul Haque declined to talk to newsmen on the matter.

Ruet public relations officer Golam Mortuja in an email to newsmen said the decision against Dr Yakub was taken in a proper way following allegations against him.

But Golam Mortuja did not elaborated the allegations. In the email he termed Yakub's press conference seeking justice a 'bid to create anarchy at Ruet'.

Lutfar Confesses: Minu ran business in other's name

Invested Tk 1.8cr in cold storage industry

Rajshahi Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu invested Tk 1.80 crore in cold storage and seed storage business in the name of another businessman to cover his illegal income, said arrested former president of Rajshahi Chamber and Commerce and Industries (RCCI) Lutfar Rahman in a judicial confession.

Lutfar, a close aide of Minu, provided his confessional statement under Section 164 before First Class Magistrate Jonendranath Sarker on Tuesday on completion of two-day interrogation by an anti-corruption taskforce team.

He was taken on a two-day remand after businessman Nurunnabi on August 6 filed two cases against him with Boalia Police Station for extorting Tk 1.30 crore.

Saiful Islam, investigation officer of the extortion case against Lutfar, told the court in writing that Lutfar as a director of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank and RCCI president extorted huge money from many businessmen for approving loans during BNP-led four-party alliance rule.

Meanwhile, it was reported in media several times that Minu had businesses with Lutfar in cold storage, passenger coach and petrol pump businesses.

Minu who recently submitted his wealth statement with the Anti-Corruption Commission did not show any of his partnership businesses with Lutfar.

Judicial confession
Nurunnabi once proposed to Lutfar to start business of cold storage and seed storage but Lutfar declined at first, Lutfar said in his statement.

Later when Lutfar agreed to have partnership in the business, Nurunnabi got Tk 10 crore loan sanctioned for Jamuna Seed Storage project, Lutfar said.

For the loan approval, Nurunnabi gave Tk 18 lakh to Lutfar's employee Mosarraf and the money was used for construction of the cold storage, goes the statement.

Nurunnabi later pulled back his share in the business on the plea of illness, said Lutfar adding that he (Lutfar) then requested another businessman Bairul Islam to invest money.

"When Bairul refused to be involved, I told him to talk to Mayor Minu following Minu's direction," said Lutfar.

"After he met Minu, Bairul agreed to invest."

"Later Mayor Minu told me [Lutfar] on phone to invest his money in the business and he assured cooperation. He promised to provide the construction money in phases and then Minu's share was transferred to Bairul's name."

"The mayor gave me Tk 1.80 crore in seven instalments during the construction...While handing over the money to me, the mayor asked me to give the money to Bairul," said Lutfar in his statement.

Nurunnabi's cases
According to briefs of Nurunnabi's cases, Lutfar had 60 per cent partnership with Nurunnabi in Jamuna Seed Storage Pvte Ltd.

Nurunnabi alleged that Lutfar as a former director of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank took Tk 18 lakh toll from him for releasing Tk 10 crore loan. Nununnabi invested Tk 1.25 crore in the business.

"After the business started running, Lutfar once asked him to withdraw his share and threatened him citing the names of Minu and BNP Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman."

"Later on October 19 of 2004, Lutfar called him to his Upashahar home in the city and his aides at gunpoint forced Nurunnabi to withdraw his share through signing some business papers."

Lutfar in several phases later returned only Tk 43 lakh, while nearly Tk 1 crore dues still remained unpaid, goes the briefs of the case.

In another case, Nurunnabi alleged that Lutfar took Tk 30 lakh toll for releasing Tk 6,09 crore loan for establishing Nigar Cold Storage in Durgapur upazila in 2002.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Ex-president of Rajshahi chamber sued for Tk 1.5cr extortion; Dulu sued again for patronising JMB militants

A businessman in Rajshahi city filed two cases yesterday against Lutfar Rahman, detained former president of Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industries, in connection with extorting around Tk 1.50 crore.

Nurunnabi of Shalgharia in Durgapur upazila, former business partner of Lutfar, lodged the cases with Boalia Police Station in the city. Joint forces arrested Lutfar at Dhaka several days ago.

The complainant in one of the cases said Lutfar, former city BNP vice-president and a close aide to detained Rajshahi City Corporation Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu, extorted Tk 1 crore from him using names of high-profile political figures like BNP Senior Secretary General Tarique Rahman and Minu.

Ramjan Ali, officer-in-charge of Boalia Police Station, told newsmen that police started investigating the cases. "If other people were found to be involved during the investigation, they will be implicated in the case," he added.

Police sources said there were bits of evidence in the case to suggest Tarique and Minu were involved.

The complainant in a case said Lutfar in June 2004 started a business with Jamuna Seed Storage Pvt Ltd. "Witnessing my success in other businesses, Lutfar invited me to the seed storage business saying that Mayor Minu was also investing money. Lutfar told me that (former) finance minister agreed to help," the plaintiff in the case said.

Nurunnabi started doing business with 40 percent partnership. He had invested Tk 1.43 crore in the business.

He said Lutfar, the then director of Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (Rakub), took Tk 18 lakh from him to get Tk 10 crore loan from Rakub for the business.

Later Lutfar called Nurunnabi and asked him to withdraw his shares and claims from the business. He told Nurunnabi that Minu and Tarique had asked him to tell Nurunnabi to pull out.

Lutfar threatened to kill Nurunnabi as he refused to pull out of the business. Lutfar on October 19, 2004 called Nurunnabi to his Upashahar home in the city and forced him to sign some blank papers, documents and blank cheques as his aides held him at gunpoint, the complainant said.

Lutfar, however, returned Tk 43 lakh but Tk 1 crore still remains unpaid, Nurunnabi added.

In the other case, Nurunnabi alleged that Lutfar demanded Tk 30 lakh for releasing Tk 7.77 crore bank loan, which Nurunnabi had applied for to establish Nigar Cold Storage in Durgapur upazila in 2002.

"As my loan proposal was rejected by the bank, I contacted Rakub Chairman Rizvi Sultan who told me to consult Lutfar," alleged the plaintiff in the case.

On July 11, 2002, Nurunnabi and his relatives provided Lutfar Tk 29.5 lakh at his home and that very day Rukub approved Tk 6.09 crore loan to Nurunnabi.

Dulu sued again for patronising JMB militants

Another case was yesterday filed against former deputy minister for land Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu and 27 others on charges of patronising Islamist militants, extortion and looting.

Munser Ali of Mominpur village under Naldanga Police Station filed the case with the cognizance court.

According to the allegations made in the case, Dulu demanded Tk 50,000 from Munser in May 2004 as he refused to join Bangla Bhai's militant group.

Later, Dulu and his associates tortured Munser and realised Tk 12,000 from him in three phases. They also looted valuables worth about Tk 50,000 from his house.

Dulu was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment in arson and looting case on July 26.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Disabled preparing their voter lists in Rajshahi

Disabled preparing their voter lists in Rajshahi

Speakers at a press conference held here yesterday said the disabled are now engaged in preparation of voter lists in Rajshahi City Corporation areas.

Action on Disability and Development (ADD), working with the disabled, in collaboration with Election Working Group (EWG), a network of 33 NGOs, organised the press conference at Rajshahi Public Library auditorium.

They said about 15 disabled persons are now conducting a survey at all the 30 wards of the city corporation to prepare separate lists for the disabled.

In many cases, they are going from door to door with the enumerators (data collectors).

On completion of the survey, they will hand over the lists to Rajshahi Election Office tomorrow, they said.

The conference stressed on enrolment of the disabled in the voter list for establishing their fundamental rights.

They also stressed on giving identity card to the disabled.

Referring to various aspects of voter ID cards in every sphere of life, they urged the Election Commission (EC) authorities to include the issue in the cards for their welfare.

'I along with an assistant am surveying every 10 alternative houses in a area and going door to door following information of neighbours of the disabled people', said Sheikh Abu Tarek Mukul, a visually impaired.

'Rich people are not willing to confess disabilities of their family members while poor section people seek monetary help from me', he said from his experience.

The disadvantaged group is implementing nine other programmes to help proper registration of the disabled.

The programmes include regular contacts and coordination with the district election office, assistant registration officers, supervisors, enumerators, data entry operators and election working group.

The programmes also include exchange of opinion with different NGO representatives and civil people, distribution of leaflets, announcement through loudspeakers, and publicity through roadside drama and promotional cultural activities.

ADD human rights officer Joy Chand Karmaker said his organisation inspired the disabled persons to conduct the survey following experience of Sripur Voter Listing Project in Gazipur.

Among others, Dr Zaharul Alam, director, Election Working Group, ADD human rights officer Joy Chand Karmaker and disabled persons Ahasan Habib Dollar, Firoza Akther Shima and Sarker Helaluzzaman addressed.