Charghat OC withdrawn as audio clips demanding Tk 700,000 in bribes leaked

Mahbubul Alam

The officer-in-charge (OC) of Rajshahi’s Charghat police station, Mahbubul Alam, was withdrawn and closed to the police lines on Saturday night after audio clips in which the OC was heard demanding Tk 700,000 in bribes from a housewife had been leaked in social media.

Rajshahi’s additional superintendent of police (district special branch) and media cell spokesperson Md Rafiqul Islam confirmed the matter to Prothom Alo.

Earlier, audio clips of the OC demanding bribes were published in local media, as well as had started making rounds in social media since Saturday evening.

Mahbubul Alam demanded bribes from certain Sahara Khatun, 28, wife of Abdul Alim alias Kalu from Chamta village of Shaluya union parishad of Charghat upazila. Abdul Alim has been behind bars in the case filed by the police’s detective branch for six months, though his wife claimed he has been falsely implicated in this case.

On Saturday afternoon, Sahara Khatun filed a written complaint to the Rajshahi’s superintendent of police attaching an audio clip of 6 minutes 53 seconds that contains the conversation of the OC seeking bribes. She also sent copies of the complaint to the inspector general of police, and deputy inspector general of the Rajshahi rang by post.

In the written complaint, Shahara Kahtun said her husband has long worked as a source of police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Based on his information, the police and RAB arrested many drug dealers from the Charghat area, and that made the drug dealers from Charghat angry at her husband and family. Her husband has been implicated on allegations of possessing narcotics and arms, Drug dealers started harassing them since the arrest of her husband. So she called the OC on 12 September and complained against them. The OC told her to come to the police station the next day. When she went to the police station the OC called her to his quarters. Her son was with her at the time. She cleverly recorded the conversation that she had with the OC.

In this 6-minute-and-53-second audio clip, OC Mahbubul Alam was heard telling that woman, “Your husband has done enough damage to me. He duped me much. Bring Tk 500,000 tomorrow. I haven’t touched you yet. This is not the time when nobody takes bribes. None is left from taking bribes. People concerned of the entire district are taking bribes. I need a lot of money monthly to run my police station. I have given my words to sir (superintendent of police). What sir needs now – Tk 500,000; what sir wants – Tk 700,000. I have told him I will try. I told sir there is nothing here except drugs.... Can you give Tk 500,000? We will catch them (local drug dealers) and take them to court. Whether I am here or not you will control them. You will run (drug) business from outside.”

OC Mahbubul Alam could not be reached for a comment as he did not respond to mobile phone calls. A copy of the allegation along with queries on how many lawsuits the woman and her husband face and where was sent to him by WhatsApp, but he did not reply it that either.

Complainant Shara Khatun said, “I will not say that my husband has not committed any crime, but I have been forced to leave my home due to the harassment of the drug traders. I went to complain about it, but the OC did not accept the complaint, instead, he wants Tk 700,000 in bribes.”

Regarding this, Rajshahi’s superintendent of police Md Saifur Rahman told Prothom Alo on Saturday night that he is yet to receive any such allegation, but he may get it on Sunday. After that, a probe will be opened and if the allegation is found to be true, action will be taken against the OC as per the rules.

Rajshahi’s additional superintendent of police (DSB) and media spokesperson Md Rafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo on Sunday morning they are yet to receive the written allegation of that woman and may get it today, Sunday. However, since the audio clip which was attached to the complaint has spread out, the OC has been withdrawn from the Charghat police station for the sake of investigation, he added.