Two education ministry staff, who were arrested on Sunday, had allegedly handed over secret state documents to the owner of Lakehead Grammar School to help reopen the institution after it was shut down for “patronising militancy”.
They took a bribe of Tk 4.3 lakh in different phases for this, according to the statement of a case filed by a sub-inspector of Detective Branch early yesterday.
Nasir Uddin, upper division assistant of the ministry, and Motaleb Hossain, personal official of Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, met Lakehead owner Khaled Hassan Matin at his Banani office on December 16, 2017.
They struck a deal for Tk 4.3 lakh to facilitate quick reopening of the school violating a court order, said SI Monirul Islam in the case statement. “One or two other ministry staff or officials were supposed to get part of the bribe money.”
The Anti-Corruption Commission has already started probing the bribery incident, said its chief Iqbal Mahmud yesterday.
“The ACC will investigate if corruption takes place in any ministry,” he told reporters at the anti-graft body's head office.
Besides, the education ministry will suspend the arrested officials, Nahid said in response to a query at a briefing at his secretariat office in the afternoon.
Detectives arrested Nasir, Motaleb and Khaled in the capital's Gulshan and Basila areas on Sunday. A Dhaka court yesterday afternoon sent them to jail, rejecting their bail petitions.
DB Sub-Inspector Md Firoz, who produced them before the court, prayed for keeping them in jail until the ACC appoints an investigation officer.
Nasir received Tk 50 thousand on December 18, Tk 50 thousand on December 25 and Tk 2 lakh on January 11 from Khaled's office. Motaleb got a portion of the Tk 3 lakh.
On information that the rest of the money will be handed over on Monday, a DB team took position near Khaled's office at House-39 on Road-13/15 of Block D in Banani.
They arrested Nasir soon after he came out of the office with Tk 1.3 lakh.
Though the case statement said Nasir was caught on Monday, the DMP News, portal of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, in a post on Sunday stated that the three were arrested at 8:30pm that day (Sunday).
Nasir admitted he received the money from Khaled as bribe, the DB team arrested the Lakehead owner from his office, according to the case statement.
Motaleb was arrested from Dhanmondi area Monday evening and he also admitted getting a portion of the bribe, the statement added.
It further read Khaled and his associate Asif re-opened Lakehead school violating conditions of a court order and managed secret documents from the two education ministry staff.
According to family members, Motaleb was picked up by plainclothes men on Saturday afternoon from the capital's Basila while Nasir went missing from Banani on his way to his office on Thursday.
Khaled had been missing since he was allegedly taken away by unidentified men in front of the school's Gulshan branch on Saturday afternoon.
Until Sunday evening, law enforcers remained tight-lipped about the reason of their arrest, making the family members deeply worried.
Abdul Baten, joint commissioner of Detective Branch (DB) Police, yesterday said they did not know anything about their going missing.
“The arrestees might have gone into hiding after getting involved in the bribery. We have no idea about it,” he said while briefing reports at the DMP Media Centre yesterday.
Baten also said there were some allegations of having militancy links against the school owner. If the allegations were found true, a separate case would be filed against Khaled, he added.
The school was co-founded in 2000 by Rizwan Haroon and Jenifer Ahmed, wife of alleged Hizb ut-Tahrir coordinator and Dhaka University teacher Syed Golam Mowla.
Khaled used to help his friend Rizwan Haroon in recruiting youths to militant organisation Jama'atul Muslimin, the case statement reads.
He bought the school in March last year.
On November 7, the district administration of Dhaka sealed off Dhanmondi and Gulshan branches of the school, closing all its activities on the allegations of patronising militancy, inspiring extremist views and helping militant outfits.
The Supreme Court later ordered reopening the school with a new board of directors including military officials and the Dhaka divisional commissioner in the chair. On January 13, the school reopened.