The investigation committee learned that Rafiqul Amin also talked to the investors over mobile phone twice in May of 2020. An investor of Destiny bought Rafiqul Amin a cell phone after the latter left the prison cell for medical tests. The on-duty prison guards also didn’t search him when he entered the prison cell with the mobile phone.
The head of committee and deputy inspector general-prisons (DIG) of Dhaka division Touhidul Islam told Prothom Alo the allegations have been found to be true. The probe report recommends the prisons authorities taking action against the people involved including Rafiqul Amin, the prison official added.
Asked whether the phone that Rafiqul Amin used to talk has been recovered, head of committee Touhidul Islam said, “No, we couldn’t recover it. Perhaps, he got rid of it.”
Two cases were filed with Dhaka’s Kalabagan police station on 31 July 2012 against the Destiny officials including Rafiqul Amin on charges of embezzling and laundering a total of Tk 41.19 billion (Tk 4,119.24 crore) from the investors under the name of Destiny Multipurpose Co-Operative Society Limited and Destiny Tree Plantation Limited. Another case was filed against Rafiqul Amim on charge of not submitting wealth statement. Last year, a lower court sentenced him to three years in jail in this case. Rafiqul Amim appealed to the High Court against the sentence.
The two cases filed against Rafiqul Amin and others over money embezzlement and laundering charges are pending trial at Dhaka Special Judge Court-4. Trial proceedings are at the final stage in one of the cases while recording of witness deposition is underway in another one.
Since being arrested in October 2012, Rafiqul Amin had been in hospital’s prison cell from time to time. He mainly stayed at the BSMMU and also stayed at BIRDEM General Hospital at times. Lastly on 11 April, he came to the BSMMU’s prison cell. Rafiqul Amin was transferred back to Dhaka Central Jail after media reported the Destiny boss holding a Zoom meeting from the prison cell.
Eight prison guards including the chief prison guard deployed to escort Rafiqul Amin have been closed. The probe body’s report recommended warning four deputy jailers as well as taking action against 13 prison guards as per the jail code. It said all prison guards facing allegations admitted their faults and gave similar confessions. The probe body has learned that certain Bishwanath Poddar used to visit the prison cell. According to Rafiqul Amin, Bishwanath Poddar was a nurse. He brought Rafiqul Amin’s medicines and groceries and visited him with the permission of the authorities.
According to the investigation report, Rafiqul Amin confessed to probe body that he attended in several question and answer sessions with a group of investors over mobile phone several times in May 2020. These were not Zoom meetings or video calls. He connected through a normal cell phone and answered several questions from 2-3 investors. He didn’t know how many investors were connected but he was told prior to the meeting that 500 investors would join the meeting.
The probe body put forward 19 recommendations to prevent this type of irregularities. These includes installing CCTV cameras in hospitals’ prison cells and corridors, not posting any prison guard who previously faced departmental punishment on duty in hospital, not deploying anyone having experience less than five years as prison guard in prison cells and opening a 200-bed hospital at Kashimpur Central Jail-2 for better treatment of the prisoners.
Inspector general of prisons Brigadier General Md Mominur Rahman Mamun told Prothom Alo recommendations made by the probe body as per the jail code and the prison act will be implemented.
This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna