Rajshahi Mayor AHM Khairuzzman Liton yesterday paid Tk 10,000 fine on behalf of his cousin who had occupied a part of the footpath by keeping construction materials on it.
The incident occurred during a mobile court drive where two offices of local units of Awami League, built occupying roadsides, were also bulldozed.
Meanwhile, within a couple of hours after the incident, the mayor in a post on Facebook said: “You'll get betrayed the most from those close to you. If you make a list of people who will hurt you, your close ones will be in that list, not your enemies. Enemies never betray you; only the close ones do.”
During the drive, Rajshahi City Corporation's executive magistrate found that the mayor's cousin AHM Saiduzzman Nipun had left construction materials on the footpath in front of his residence in the city's Greater Road area.
After being fined, Nipun started lobbying with the mayor for exemption, said executive magistrate Samar Kumar Paul.
“The mayor then called and asked me to overlook the matter. I refused as he himself told me to conduct the drive,” Paul said. “Then the mayor sent us the money.”
Nipun, however, claimed that he himself paid the fine, which the magistrate refuted.
Rajshahi City Corporation began the 11-day drive on April 15 to free the footpaths and roadsides from illegal occupation.
Samar Kumar Paul said in the last five days, around 800 illegal structures were removed from roadsides and footpaths and around Tk 2 lakh were realised as fines for keeping construction materials there.
Yesterday, the mobile court conducted the drive from RMCH Bondogate point of the Greater Road to the City Haat and Aam Chattar areas.
Near Rajshahi Divisional Stadium and City Convention Centre, the mobile court dismantled two offices of the ward units (14, 3) of Awami League.
The executive magistrate said the structures were built on government properties.
Local AL leaders were present during the demolition and they tried to persuade the magistrate not to dismantle those, but to no avail, added Samar Kumar Paul.
The drive will continue till April 25 with assistance of police and the city corporation employees.
According to Rajshahi City Corporation officials, they have been announcing the drive through loudspeakers and publishing advertisements in newspapers.
The decision to conduct the drive was taken at a special meeting held on April 9 with the mayor in the chair.
The meeting also banned all kinds of floating businesses on footpaths from 9am to 4pm.