Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) senior leader Moudud Ahmed on Sunday alleged that around seven billion US dollars were siphoned off from Bangladesh by 'government-backed people' over the last one decade, reports UNB.
Speaking at a human chain programme, he also alleged that the scope for whitening black money was kept in the proposed budget for 2019-20 fiscal to allow ruling party men to legalise their ill-gotten money.
"Around 7 billion US dollars were siphoned off from Bangladesh over the last one decade...those who're doing business backed by the government laundered the money instead of investing it in the country," the BNP leader said.
Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal arranged the programme in front of the National Press Club demanding the release of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and a fresh national election.
Moudud, a BNP standing committee member, said the ruling party-supported people constructed houses, shopping malls and set up big businesses in many countries, including Malaysia, the USA, Australia and Canada by siphoning off huge money from the country.
"They did it as their alternative measures as they know it very well that it'll be very difficult for them to stay in Bangladesh when the fall of the current regime is ensured," he added.
About the proposed national budget, he said it was formulated only to facilitate the ruling party men and their beneficiaries. "This budget is not for the common people. The rich will get richer while the poor poorer through the budget."
He said the government has kept the option open for whitening the black money for over the 10 years so that the ruling party-backed people who earned huge illegal money through corruption can legalise those.
The BNP leader alleged that their chairperson Khaleda Zia has been kept in jail for around one year and four months due to the government's political 'influence'. "We'll seek her bail at the High Court division in Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases by this week. If the bail is denied, we'll move to the Appellate Division."
He said they will put in their best efforts to free Khaleda through the legal process. "But she can truly be freed through a movement. Khaleda Zia's released can be ensured through a street movement."
Moudud said their party leaders and activists must get organised and to take to the streets with such a programme that will force the government to release her.
The BNP leader said the country's 160 million people want Khaleda to be freed from jail. "But we can't ensure the bail for her despite our frantic efforts only because of the government's political influence."