Investigation report has yet to be submitted after more than one month into the launching of an investigation over alleged misappropriation of Tk 8 lakh government stipend money for students of a madrasa in Rangabali upazila.
Guardians of seven students and the land donor of the secondary level educational institution -- Sajirhawla Akbaria Dakhil Madrasa, in Chhotobaishdia union -- made the complaint, in writing, with the upazila nirbahi officer's office on August 16.
In the complaint, they alleged that Maulana Sultanur Rahman, the superintendent; Maulana Abul Kalam, the managing committee chairman; and Kabir Uddin, an assistant teacher of Arabic; of the madrasa have been involved in the embezzlement since 2017.
On August 17, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Mashfaqur Rahman directed Anadi Kumar Bahadur, academic supervisor at secondary education office in the upazila, to investigate into the allegation.
Contacted, Anadi Kumar Bahadur said, he collected statements from aggrieved students and guardians on September 20, when he visited the madrasa, where 98 out of about 400 total students are enrolled under government stipend programmes.
As to when he would submit his report to the UNO, he said "soon".
Zakir Hossain, who donated land for the madrasa, in the written complaint said the government stipend money is disbursed to bKash -- a mobile financial service -- account of the guardian of each stipend recipient.
However, the accused individuals, conniving with each other, duped the guardians of stipend recipients into handing over their SIM cards, registered with bKash, to the accused.
Using the SIM cards, the accused have been withdrawing the stipend money from the bKash accounts since 2017. Till date, they withdrew more than Tk 8 lakh, out of which, about Tk 5 lakh is stipends for the first six months of this year.
When the guardians found out about the theft and put pressure on the three accused, the latter returned some of the stolen money on August 9 to a handful of locally influential guardians through the local union parishad chairman.
Monir Munshi, guardian of one of the victims, said after the accused returned his SIM card, he checked account transactions of the bKash account and found out that stipend money of Tk 6,360, disbursed for his daughter, was withdrawn from the account when the SIM card was with the accused.
Another guardian, Monir Khan, said before they returned his SIM card, stipend money of his son had also been stolen in a similar fashion.
Abu Hanif Madbar, a former chairman of the institution's managing committee, said the madrasa superintendent, the present managing committee chairman and the Arabic teacher -- all are involved in various irregularities, including misappropriation of stipends given to students of the madrasa.
Contacted, Superintendent Maulana Sultanur Rahman however claimed that they had withdrawn stipend money from accounts of several students under special circumstances due to the Covid-19 and they were in the process of handing the money over to the respective recipients.
Managing committee chairman Maulana Abul Kalam said they were also examining the accusations and, so far, according to evidence, assistant Arabic teacher Kabir Uddin has taken possession of Tk 4 lakh of stipend money of the students.
Assistant Arabic teacher Kabir Uddin could not be reached for his comments as his cell phone was found switched off during repeated calls made by this correspondent.
UNO Mashfaqur Rahman said they would take necessary legal action upon receipt of the investigation report.