Top Hefazat-e-Islam leaders misappropriated the donations, including from abroad, meant for madrasahs and orphanages for their violent activities, and a probe is on to identify the sources and use of the funds, Bangladesh Police officials said on Tuesday.
“Huge funds have been spent on sabotage and Hefazat’s massacres. We are inquiring about 300 top and other donors. We’ve got several names. Top militant Mamunul Haque’s bank account has also been found to have huge amount of transaction information,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Deputy Commissioner, Detective Department, Asaduzzaman, said.
He also said a large portion of donations, fund and madrasah grants were grabbed by the top leaders of the militant outfit and put into their personal accounts.
Police have started an investigation into irregularities and corruption by 23 top leaders of the Hefazat and other organisations, who are in its custody, and 30 organisations, mostly in Chattogram and Siddhirganj of Narayanganj. The investigation has revealed the source of income of the 300 donors as well as the chaotic situation in the management of the madrasahs, and other institutions, including orphanages.
Police have already sought information on the bank accounts of these 23 leaders and 30 organisations from the financial unit of the country’s central bank, the Bangladesh Bank.
A top intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the madrasahs of the Hefazat receive a lot of grants from outside the country, while individuals inside the country donate a lot of money openly and secretly.
However, there is no transparency on the expenses or sources and proper amount of these grants for the management of Hefazat-controlled madrasahs and where and how these funds were spent. Although the grants were supposed to be deposited in banks, many madrasah bank accounts are not functional at all.
“There are no accounts in the madrasahs. The financial management of the organisation is very chaotic. Most Islamic institutions do not have a bank account. Police can dig out the information about the places where the money came from, but there is no specific information on the sectors in which the money has been spent,” an official told IANS.
All these madrasahs will be investigated in phases, the police official added.
The militant leaders against whom the investigation has been launched include Junaid Babungari, convener of the newly formed Committee of Hefazat-e-Islam, Ismail Nurpuri, chief of Khilafath Majlis, Mamunul Haque, former joint secretary general and secretary general of Khilafah Majlis, Syed Muhammad Rezaul Karim, vice-president of Befaqul Madarasatul Arabia, Syed Faizul Karim, Nayeb-e-Amir of the Islamic Movement Bangladesh, Yunus Ahmad, principal secretary general of Islamic Movement Bangladesh and chairman of Al Hayatul Ulia - the top academic board of the Qawmi Madrasahs, the breeding ground of the militants, and others.
Meanwhile, Mamunul was sent to a fresh spell of five day police custody by a Dhaka court in connection with two cases filed in the capital’s Paltan police station.