The newly-elected commander of Muktijoddha Sangsad of Kaliganj upazila unit in Jhenidah has extorted Tk 1.20 lakh from 49 freedom fighters (FFs), who have recently been included in a new list for getting government allowances for one year.
There are 320 freedom fighters in the upazila; of them, 225 have been getting their allowances, said sources in the Department of Social Services (DSS) in the upazila under the Ministry of Social Welfare.
Forty-nine more had been included in the list of allowances this year, and they had withdrawn Tk 36,000 each for one year on July 6, the sources added.
On condition of anonymity, an FF said the newly-elected commander, Helal Uddin Sardar, had asked them to pay Tk 3,000 each, or else their names would be excluded from the list.
On the day of withdrawing the allowances, Helal himself was present at Kaliganj branch-2 of Sonali Bank, and compelled them to pay Tk 3,000 each, he said, adding that some of them had been allowed to pay Tk 2,000 considering miserable condition of their families.
FFs alleged that Helal had altogether extorted around Tk 1.20 lakh from them.
Contacted, Helal said he had taken the money for bearing office expenditure.
Besides, the newly-elected upazila committee will organise a reception ceremony which requires money, he said.
But he brushed aside the allegations that he forced the FFs to pay him money.
On June 4, Helal Uddin Sardar and Rezaul Islam were elected Kaliganj upazila commander and deputy commander of Muktijoddah Sangsad.