Barapukuria Scam: High-powered committee visits coalmine
12:00 AM, August 03, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:56 AM, August 03, 2018

Barapukuria Scam: High-powered committee visits coalmine

A three-member high-powered committee formed by the government to investigate the Barapukuria coal scam arrived at the company in Dinajpur on a two-day visit yesterday.

Following a directive from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the committee was constituted on July 28. It is headed by Khalilur Rahman, director general (admin) of the Prime Minister's Office.

The other members are Md Kamruzzaman, director (mine operation) of Petrobangla, and Nazmul Haque, joint secretary of energy division under the energy, power and mineral resources ministry.

The committee members reached the site around 11:45am.

Shahid Hossain Chowdhury, additional deputy commissioner (general) of Dinajpur, and Rehanul Haque, Parbatipur upazila nirbahi officer, were also present there. 

The visiting team is today likely to go to the 525MW Barapukuria Power plant, which was shut down for an indefinite period for a lack of fuel supply, a direct fallout of some 1.45 lakh tonnes of coal “going missing” from the coalmine yard.

Sources at Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Limited (BCMCL) said the team held a meeting with the mine officials. They also visited the mine yard.

This is the third body which investigates the scam, which sparked a nationwide outrage.

On July 19, Petrobangla, the parent organisation of BCMCL, formed a three-member probe body after the incident of around 1.45 lakh tonnes of “coal going missing” came to light on July 16. The committee submitted its report last week.

The committee said it found involvement of four former BCMCL managing directors in the coal scam. They are Quamruzzaman, Md Aminuzzaman, SM Nurul Aurangjeb and Habib Uddin Ahmed. 

Of the four, The Anti-Corruption Commission, which also probes the coal scam, interrogated Aurangjeb on Wednesday at its Dhaka office. Shamsul Alam, deputy director of ACC, is leading the probe committee.

On the instruction of ACC Dhaka office, a five-member team, headed by Benzir Ahmed, deputy director of Dinajpur ACC, visited the mine on July 23. After visiting the site, Benzir told reporters that they found that there was a shortage of around 1.45 lakh tonnes of coal at the yard.

When Petrobangla found that around 1.45 lakh tonnes of coal, worth over Tk 227 crore, had gone missing, it took action against four BCMCL top officials on July 19. 

It made Habib Uddin Ahmed, managing director of BCMCL, officer on special duty (OSD). He was later suspended.

Meanwhile, Anisur Rahman, manager (admin) of the coalmine, has filed a case with Parbatipur Police Station against its 19 officials, including former MD Habib, in connection with the coal scam.

Nobody has yet been arrested.

The ACC has also barred 21 officials, including the 19 accused, and former two BCMCL managing directors -- Quamruzzaman and Aminuzzaman -- from leaving the country over the matter.

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