Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) yesterday detained a surveyor of Cox's Bazar district administration, and seized around Tk 93 lakh in "bribe money" from his possession and from houses of two other surveyors in different areas of the town.
Md Wasim, a surveyor of district administration's land acquisition branch, was detained from a house in Taraboniarchara area. Tk 16 lakh, cheques of different banks and government papers were recovered from the spot.
Other surveyors -- Farid and Ferdous -- managed to escape but Rab recovered Tk 60 lakh from Farid's house and Tk 17 lakh from Ferdous' residence, in Baharchara area.
Maj Mehedi Hasan, Ramu Company Commander of Rab-15, said works of around 50 development projects of the government are going on in Cox's Bazar, and land acquisition for those projects are also ongoing.
There are long-standing allegations that a vested quarter is realising huge sums of money from land owners centring land acquisition, and several victims have already given written complaints, he said. Based on that, a Rab team conducted raids in different parts of town, detained one and recovered the money and other documents.
A case was filed against Wasim with Cox's Bazar Model Police Station.
Several victims alleged that not only these three, but also many other surveyors and staff of land office of the district are involved with the quarter, who hold land owners at hostage. Victims do not get remedy as several top officials allegedly get share of the money, they said, adding that land owners are forced to take help from surveyors and brokers in exchange of 20 to 50 percent commissions, they added.
A former deputy commissioner of Cox's Bazar and ADC were arrested earlier for their alleged involvement in bribery centering a mega project.
DC Kamal Hossain told reporters that he came know about the development, but said it was Wasim's personal offences and legal and departmental action would be taken against him.
He, however, rejected other allegations.