Around 21 councilors of two City Corporations in Dhaka are under surveillance on various allegations including illegal occupation, narcotics, gambling, extortion and terrorist activities.
The government has started a detailed investigation into the allegations raised against them. Special measures have also been taken so that none of them can leave the country.
Meanwhile, members of the relevant agency will seek assistance from the two city mayors in the investigation of irregularities and corruption of the councilors.
The two mayors said that they were ready to assist in the ongoing cleansing operation. Besides, the officials concerned said that they are investigating not only 18 councilors but also monitoring the activities of other councilors.
Sources said, 12 councilors from Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and nine councilors from Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) are under surveillance.
The DSCC councilors include Ward 5 councilor, Md Ashrafuzzaman (Farid), Ward 9 councilor, Mostoba (Mostafa) Zaman Popy, Ward 20 councilor, Farid Uddin Ahmmed Ratan, Ward 22 councilor, Tariqul Islam Sojib, Ward 26 councilor, Alhaj Md Hasibur Rahman Manik, Ward 30 councilor, Md Hasan, Ward 39 councilor, Moynul Haque Monzu, Ward 48 councilor, Md. Abul Kalam (Anu), Ward 57 councilor, Hazi Md Saidul Islam (Madbar), Ward 59 councilor, Akash Kumar Bhomick and Ward 74 councilor, Md Abul Kalam Azad.
The DNCC councilors include Ward 4 councilor and Panel Mayor, Md Jamal Mostafa, Ward 6 councilor, Md Rajjob Hossain, ward 7 councilor Md Mobasser Chowdhury, Ward 27 councilor, Faridur Rahman Khan Iran, Ward 28 councilor, Forkan Hossain, Ward 30 councilor, Abul Hasem (Hasu), Ward 31 councilor, Md Shariful Islam Sentu and Ward 33 councilor, Tarekuzzaman Rajib.
Meanwhile, Ward 32 councilor, Habibur Rahman (Mizan) was arrested while under surveillance by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from Sylhet while going to India. He is currently in jail.
Moreover, DSCC Ward 9 councilor, AKM Mominul Haque has Shaeed fled to Singapore. After the revealing of his involvement in illegal casino business, he has not come back to the county for fear of arrest.
In the meantime, the Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives (LGRD) Ministry found evidence of allegations against Mominul Haque Shaeed and removed him from his councilor post under local government (City Corporation) law through a notice on October 17 (Thursday).
DSCC Ward 20 councilor, Farid Uddin Ahmmed Ratan, also known as ‘Magic Ratan’ has several allegations against him including possession of some corporation markets, extortion and involvement in casino business. He is currently under the surveillance of the government's intelligence agencies. Detectives have been investigating his relationship with Jubo League leaders Khaled Bhuiyan, GK Shamim and Samrat, arrested by RAB recently.
DSCC Ward 59 councilor, Akash Kumar Bhomick, was a vegetable seller 10 years ago. After Awami League government came to power, his lifestyle changed under the patronization of the former Minister of Disaster Management and Relief. Although not much educated, he controlled the tender process of the ministry.
After being elected councilor, his extortion, tender manipulation, narcotic business and land occupation activities rose dramatically.
There are several allegations against DSCC Ward 26 councilor, Alhaj Md Hasibur Rahman Manik including taking money from contractors by obstructing different project works, illegal occupation of market, extortion from businessmen and collaborating with narcotics business.
The allegations against DNCC Ward 27 councilor, Faridur Rahman Khan Iran include extortion, tender manipulation, coaching business and illegal occupation at Farmgate area.
The allegations against Ward 30 councilor, Md Hasan are extortion from different business entities, shops, footpaths and Launch Ghat in Swarighat area.
Md Hasan told Bangladesh Post, “I have been elected as an independent councilor. I was elected three times as councilor from this Ward. If people do not love me, it would not be possible to be elected thrice.”
About the allegation of illegal occupation and misusing power, he said, “Being an independent councilor, if I apply power against people, what is the condition of the councilors who are elected from party I am suppressed in my locality rather than being in a position to apply power. My political rivals spread propaganda against me.”
About the allegation, DNCC Ward 7 councilor, Md Mobasser Chowdhury told Bangladesh Post, “My political rivals are spreading these allegations. Besides, when I judge different issues in my area, it may go against someone or in favour of someone. The allegation may arise from whom my judgment went against.”
He also said, “I welcome the ongoing cleansing drive. The authorities concerned should accurately investigate these allegations against me.”
During efforts to be contacted, some councilors, did not receive the call while others denied the allegations.
About the allegations, DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon had recently said, “If any councilor engages in unlawful activities, he will be brought under law. We are ready to assist investigation team in this regard.”
DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam told Bangladesh Post, “The ongoing cleansing drive has been acclaimed. No one is above the law. If any councilor does illegal activities, they must face judgement of law. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced ‘zero tolerance’ against corruption. We want to go forward with her ideology. We do not engage in corruption and will not tolerate others doing so.”