The DGHS driver Abdul Malek was known as ‘Mr Badal’, a rich and amicable businessman, in the Bamnartek area where he lived before being arrested for allegedly amassing huge ill-gotten wealth.
The local people were bewildered to know that the person who was known as Badal is actually the much-discussed Abdul Malek.
Malek joined the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) as a driver in 1982.
The local people knew Malek as a successful farm owner who earned a fortune by cattle farming. He was considered as a model of a successful urban farm owner.
Driver Abdul Malek’s name came to the fore while RAB arrested him from his house in the Bamnartek area on 20 September.
Rapid Action Battalion also claimed to have recovered foreign pistol, magazines, bullets and counterfeit currency from his possession. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in primary investigation revealed that Malek and his wife own seven plots of land in a single Mouja in Dhaka. Two of those lands have two multi-storied buildings.
Turag thana’s Ranavola and Bamnartek areas are located near Uttara, Sector-10. Malek owns a seven story building along the Bamnartek main road in the Ramjan Market area.
Knowing the identity of this reporter on Thursday morning, some curious local people approached and wanted to know about the corruption of Malek.
Abdul Malek’s younger daughter Naznin Sultana was found in Malek’s house.
Terming all the allegations against her father as conspiracy, she claimed that RAB found nothing while raiding their house.
“False news is being spread about us. The information about my father’s two marriages and huge assets is not true at all. He inherited almost all the properties while earned some through hard work,” she said.
Ali Mia is a local senior citizen. He said the local people knew Malek as a good person but they did not have any idea about his real face.
Malek’s farm and a shrine in the name of his father are located in Dakkhin Rajabari area. Locals said he founded the farm in 1999 and the shrine in 2005. He used to visit the shrine every Friday and Saturday, and used to arrange milad (a form of prayer) with participation of local children.
A housewife from an adjacent house told this reporter that there was a poultry farm at this place initially. Later he started rearing cows there and the farm got bigger within some years.
She said they knew that Malek earned a huge fortune from that farm, but they are now taken aback after knowing all the stories about Malek from the media.
*This story, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Galib Ashraf.