The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has begun investigating the alleged forgery three elected leaders of the Muktijoddha Sangsad resorted to in order to obtain freedom fighter certificates.
The facilities that the trio -- Wahidur Rahman and SM Mortuja Hossain, vice-chairmen, and Mahbubul Haque Chisty alias Babul Chisty, secretariat member of the welfare organisation for Liberation War heroes -- enjoyed and have been enjoying are also being investigated by the commission, according to an ACC letter to the public administration ministry on August 20.
The three were elected through a June 4 election of the central command of the Muktijoddha Sangsad.
Of them, Wahidur Rahman is chief engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and used his false certificate in 2004 to get his tenure extended by three years. He is now serving in the post on a contractual basis.
Farid Ahmed Patwari, deputy director of the ACC and also the investigation officer of the fraudulence, wrote the letter to the senior secretary of the public administration ministry seeking information regarding the three, including their freedom fighter certificates and the documents used to verify those, for the investigation, sources said.
Responding to the letter, Tahmina Begum, senior assistant secretary of the public administration ministry, sent a letter on August 31 requesting the local government and rural development ministry to provide the ACC with the required information and documents.
Following this, Wahidur Rahman sent the documents to the LGRD ministry on September 3 in an attempt to prove himself a freedom fighter.
The ACC move came following a report titled "Bought out! Fake freedom fighters, war crimes suspect to 'ensure welfare' of war heroes" published in The Daily Star on June 16, according to commission sources.
The report mentioned that the Muktijoddha Sangsad now had fake freedom fighters and even a war crimes suspect in its central command council.
It also stated that Wahidur Rahman managed a false certificate although his name was not included in Muktibarta (Red Book), a list of freedom fighters, prepared by the 1996-2001 Awami League-led government. And Babul Chisty is accused of killing a freedom fighter in 1971 and allegedly was a member of the notorious auxiliary force Al-Badr.
Wahidur Rahman was scheduled to go into retirement on December 9, 2010. But using the certificate, he served till 9 December, 2013 and then got one more year on a contractual basis, which will end on 8 December this year.
Interestingly, while the ACC is probing Wahidur's alleged fraudulence, the liberation war affairs ministry is investigating his wife Sufia Khatun and brother-in-law Md Mohiuddin following allegations that they obtained war hero certificates without even participating in the Liberation War.
The duo managed the certificates using their political clout and family ties with AB Tajul Islam, former state minister for liberation war affairs, alleged an ex-commander of Dhaka's Nababganj thana command of the Muktijoddha Sangsad in a letter to the ministry on August 20.
Their names were not mentioned even in Muktibarta (Red Book), he stated.
In response to the letter, Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque asked the National Security Intelligence on 3 September to investigate the matter, according to ministry sources.
Contacted, a freedom fighter of Nababganj, the hometown of Sufia and Mohiuddin, said the two were adolescents in 1971 and never fought the war.