Yusuf Ali Mridha
A Chittagong court yesterday framed charges against the suspended general manager (east zone) of Bangladesh Railway, Yusuf Ali Mridha, and four others in a case filed for corruption in recruitment.
The four are railway's east zone Senior Welfare Officer Golam Kibria, Additional Chief Mechanical Engineer Hafizur Rahman and two candidates -- Abul Kashem and Anisur Rahman -- who were allegedly recruited in exchange for money.
The court of Chittagong Metropolitan Sessions Judge SM Mojibur Rahman framed the charges and fixed February 24 for starting the trial.
All the accused are now absconding. The court on several occasions issued arrest warrants for the three railway officials in this and several corruption cases, but the police failed to arrest them.
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case with Kotwali Police Station in September 2012 against the three officials over irregularities in recruitment of fuel checker posts.
The two recruits were later made accused in the case as they failed to pass the recruitment test and then bribed the officials to get the job, said Mahmudul Haq Mahmud, public prosecutor of the ACC in Chittagong.
According to the charge sheet, the railway published an advertisement in a national daily for recruiting four fuel checkers. Admit cards were issued to 268 candidates. But 125 examinees sat for the test on March 25, 2011, at two centres in Chittagong and Rajshahi.
The ACC found that the accused railway officials altered the answer sheets and results in the tabulation sheets, and recruited those who failed in the exam in exchange for money.
The answer and the tabulation sheets were in their possessions, and they doctored those to show the failed examinees as successful, says the charge sheet.
Mridha and the two other officials are also accused in five other cases filed for their involvement in irregularities in other recruitments in the railway.
Mridha was suspended on April 15, 2012, a week after he was caught with Tk 70 lakh inside the Pilkhana Headquarters of the Border Guard Bangladesh. The money had allegedly been collected from railway job seekers.
The then railway minister Suranjit Sengupta had to resign over the cash haul, following allegations that the money was being taken to his Jigatola residence. Suranjit has all along denied the claim.
The cash haul, which came to be known as railwaygate scandal, later exposed widespread irregularities in recruitments in different tiers of the railway.