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.

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