They took bribe from Lakehead owner: police
Two education ministry officials, who were arrested on Sunday, had taken bribes to facilitate re-opening of an English medium school closed down on the allegations of patronising militancy, police say.
Motaleb Hossain, personal official of Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, and Nasir Uddin, upper division assistant of the ministry, received bribes from Khaled Hassan Matin, owner of Lakehead Grammar School, a senior DB official said yesterday.
Md Shohidullah, deputy commissioner (south) of Detective Branch of Police, told The Daily Star around 7:30pm, "A bribery case will be filed against them with Banani Police Station tonight [last night]."
A DB team arrested the two ministry staff and the Lakehead owner in the capital's Gulshan and Basila areas on Sunday.
Until yesterday evening, law enforcers remained tight-lipped about the reason of their arrest, making the family members deeply worried.
Police also did not make it clear what charges would be brought against the arrestees. As per the law, an arrestee must be produced before a court 24 hours into the arrest.
According to the 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.
According to DB officials, Nasir was detained in Gulshan with Tk 1.3 lakh in his possession. Detectives later arrested Motaleb at Basila following information gleaned from Nasir.
Matin was held from Gulshan in another drive, they added.
But sources said an intelligence agency picked up the three and handed them over to police as it doesn't have the authority to arrest anyone. This was the first time an intelligence agency detained ministry officials over bribery, they added.
As of 1:30am today, no case was filed against the detainees.
On November 7 last year, the district administration of Dhaka sealed off Dhanmondi and Gulshan branches of the school, closing all its activities on 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.
Sources said its owner made a deal of around Tk 5 lakh with Motaleb and Nasir to expedite the process of its reopening following the court order.
But details of the deal could not be known.
Khaled, also managing director of RM Group Ltd, a company that supplies construction equipment and materials, bought the school in March last year.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday morning said the three were arrested on “specific allegations”.
It will be known after investigation whether they are guilty or not, he told reporters at a programme in the city.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said departmental action will be taken against the two ministry staff.
"There are definitely specific allegations against them. If those are proved, they will be punished. Departmental action will be taken accordingly,” the minister told reporters at his office.
Class-II official Motaleb joined the education ministry as a typist and later got promoted to the post of personal official of the minister.
There are allegations against him of taking bribes over transfer and promotion of school and college teachers, said ministry sources.
Motaleb, whose monthly salary is Tk 30,000 to Tk 35,000, purchased a three-katha plot in West Dhanmondi Housing in Basila around 14 years back.
He started constructing a six-storey building on the land a year ago.
A group of plainclothes men in two cars went to the building around 3:00pm when he was supervising the construction work. They picked him up from there, said his brother Shahabuddin.
This correspondent went to the under-construction building yesterday.
Ataullah Al Mamun, who has an apartment next to Motaleb's building, said he along with Motaleb and another man bought a nine-katha plot -- each owning three kathas -- in 2004.
"At that time, the three-katha plot cost Tk 2.70 lakh; currently it's worth around Tk 1 crore 50 lakh,” he said.
Around 4:00pm yesterday, some relatives of Motaleb were seen in front of the DB office on Mintoo Road enquiring about him.
“We are yet to have access to him," said one of the relatives on condition of anonymity.
A relative of Nasir said the family is happy to know his whereabouts. They went to the court in the morning and waited till the evening in the hope that he would be produced, he said.