Qatar-based Al Jazeera had leaked an audio conversation between former army chief General Aziz Ahmed and one of his course mates in a documentary what he claimed was tampered. And now he said he plans to take legal action against it.
Aziz Ahmed said, “I will go on full retirement on 25 June next year. Then I will think what can be done about it.” He claimed to have exerted no influence on changing information on the ID cards and other documents of his brothers.
The former army chief made the remarks on the talk show “Khaled Mohiuddin Jante Chai” of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on Friday.
Hosted by Khaled Mohiuddin, head of Deutsche Welle’s Bangla department, Aziz Ahmed answered many questions, and spoke about allegations against him and various topics including the Al Jazeera report, allegations against his brothers, and the US revoking his visa.
News on US revoking his visa
Recently, several media outlets in Bangladesh reported that the US had revoked the visa of Aziz Ahmed. He was asked about the US visa at the beginning of the programme and Aziz Ahmed clearly denied the report. He said he heard about it through the media. There are rules to inform the individual if the US revokes a visa. To date, I have not received any such information related to this matter from any office of the country. He alleged media published reports on this matter without citing proper sources and facts. As to whether he holds a valid US visa now, he said, “As far as I know, I do.”
‘Show me how to make Tk 10-20m’
Replying to a query on whether he owns a billion taka, Aziz Ahmed said, “Show me the way to make money, not even several billions, so that I can live comfortably the rest of my life. Not billions, if you can show me the way to make Tk 10 million or 20 million (1 or 2 crore) I will plan on a comfortable life in future.” He termed such allegations against him fabricated.
About his retired life, Aziz Ahmed said he is now free from the burden of responsibilities after going on retirement. Currently, he is working on a postdoctoral degree and is busy with his research.
‘Termination’ of personal assistant
The personal assistant of Aziz Ahmed had reportedly been terminated immediately after Aziz's tenure as the army chief ended. General Aziz Ahmed said, “So far as I know, my personal assistant retired after I went on retirement… There is something called discipline. And the matter of corruption is much deeper… Had something serious happened, he should have been disclosed from the service. In that case, we sentence many people to jail and sack many from the force. He was given a normal retirement. I want to say nothing further on this topic.”
Aziz Ahmed embarrassed by Al Jazeera documentary
Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera aired an investigative documentary on Aziz Ahmed and his brothers in February this year, causing a stir across the country. Aziz Ahmed said he was embarrassed with the documentary. He was visiting the US at that time. He claimed the documentary had no impact there.
According to the documentary, Aziz Ahmed allegedly exerted influence on various procurement processes of spyware military equipment from Israel. He claimed to have no involvement as the army chief during the procurement, though the deal on the procurement of surveillance technology was signed a day after he took charge of the army. He claimed the procurement process was made beforehand.
Aziz Ahmed said, “I challenge anyone to provide any evidence that I have given any arms, equipment or ammunition procurement contract to any of my brothers or relative during my tenure as the chief of the BGB and the army. I will accept anything. I am ready. I am issuing a challenge.”
NID of the bothers
According to the media reports, General Aziz Ahmed's two brothers – Haris Ahmed and Tofail Ahmed - used new names and different details to collect national identity (NID) cards and passports. When asked, the former army chief said, “Thousands of Bangladeshi live abroad, do they have their real names, and do they use actual father’s name and address?”
Whether he used his influence to change the name and address of his brothers, Aziz Ahmed said, “Give me one example where I made any telephone call to anyone or I ordered anything to do something. Do you have any such evidence? Give me the evidence.”
Replying to a query on whether any of his subordinate officers from the BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) were involved in any stage of the application, Aziz Ahmed said, “I don’t know whether something like this has happened. And I don’t recall properly whether anything to sign came up.”
Phone conversation with a course mate
An audio conversation between former army chief General Aziz Ahmed and one of his course mates was leaked in the Al Jazeera documentary. When asked about it, Aziz Ahmed said it was not correct. He said, “It was a cut and paste. It was tampered… Many things have been done.”
He said he has planned to take legal action about this matter. “I had been in uniform. Had I taken any legal action or measure, many people would have said that I am exercising my authority, I am misusing my power. But now I have come out of the uniform. My full retirement will begin on 25 June next year. Then I will think what kind of legal action I should take against this kind of propaganda and other things.”
Aziz Ahmed was also asked about the role of army in the last national election. In reply, he said there were clear instructions on what duty the army would carry out. The army does not have the authority to do anything at its will, he added.
How was the election then? In reply, he said election was fairly good considering the law and order situation.