Extortion, tender business and formation of committee in exchange of money have become the source of income of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of ruling Awami League.
Such allegations of illegal practice against the BCL leadership have been exposed from a long time.
Two top leaders, however, have reportedly proved the allegations true recently.
In view of the allegations, a discussion is going on to remove them from the leadership.
Allegations against BCL president and general secretary were discussed at a joint meeting of Awami League Parliamentary Board (ALPB) and Local Government Nomination Board at the prime minister’s official residence Ganabhaban on 8 September.
After the meeting, AL leaders told newsmen that prime minister Sheikh Hasina even talked about stripping the two leaders of their posts and dissolving the existing committee.
Later, BCL president Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon and general secretary Golam Rabbani failed to meet prime minister at Ganabhaban.
GS Rabbani on Thursday wrote a letter to Sheikh Hasina seeking an apology. He also gave an explanation to the allegations raised against them and claimed that they are victims of a conspiracy.
One of the main reasons of PM Hasina’s annoyance with the incumbents is their alleged demand of extortion from development projects of Jahangirnagar University.
Exchange of money for forming a committee of BCL unit at Islamic University, Kushtia, and recovery of drugs from BCL central office have also irked the prime minister.
The BCL president and the GS announced a 301-member central committee on 13 May, one year after the council. Following the announcement, a number of BCL leaders who either did not get any post or desired posts hold different protest programmes.
The agitated leaders alleged that the president and the GS have inducted drug addicts, drug dealers, service holders, activists of Chattra Dal and Shibir in the committee in exchange of money.
Asked about the reason of PM’s annoyance with them, BCL president Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury said, “I don’t know the reason. But I think she got hurt. Perhaps we could not deliver as per her expectation towards us.”
Extortion from JU development projects
JU vice chancellor Farzana Islam brought out allegations that the BCL president and the GS demanded four to six per cent from the contractor’s firm of a development project in the university. She also conveyed this allegation to the prime minister.
But GS Rabbani denied the allegation and claimed that the VC’s son and husband made the transaction with JU unit BCL.
Farzana Islam said, “I already informed the prime minister that they have threatened me. They had thought I would get frightened if they bring allegation against my son and husband. But such allegation is totally false. None of my family members are involved with any kind of such transaction.”
JU VC said she was admitted in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and the BCL president and the GS came to her.
Tender schedule of Tk 4.5 billion development project was being sold at that time, she added.
“I was fighting for my life at the hospital. But they came to me to talk about the matter. They also came to my home. But I didn’t agree to their proposal. They were unhappy while I rejected their proposal.”
Denying the VC’s claim, Golam Rabbani said, “It’s not true that we demanded any percentage. VC gave Jahangirnagar unit BCL Tk 16 million. We came to know that and asked her about the matter. Any negative news on BCL will taint our image too as the prime minister has given us the responsibility to look after all the units. At one point our president and I asked the VC that if any member of her family has any connection with the transaction. I think she has taken this question personally.”
Alleging that VC’s family members are involved with the corruption, Rabbani said, “Husband of the VC doesn’t have any profession. He looks after things such as university projects.”
JU unit BCL, however, protested the remark of Rabbani.
A press release signed by deputy office secretary of JU BCL M Mainul Islam said that Rabbani’s statement about JU BCL unit is false.
No leaders of the university BCL unit were aware of the meeting of the central president and the GS with JU VC on 8 August, the release added.
Committee business in IU
The BCL central committee formed BCL committee in Islamic University of Kusthia. Allegation of financial transaction surfaced immediately after the IU committee was formed on 13 July. A leaked phone call record of IU BCL general secretary Rakibul Islam with an unknown person went viral in social media. The leaked record proved that there were financial dealings for forming new committee and dissolving the previous one.
Rakibul, however, denied the allegation and said, “It was not my voice. I’ve filed a general diary with Kusthia model police station in this connection.”
A BCL source said that a top AL leader requested the BCL president and the secretary to bring a man of his choice in the committee. But they refused AL leader’s request and brought men of their choice in exchange of money.
Bottles of phensedyl in BCL office
Some empty bottles of Phensedyl were recovered from BCL central office at 23 Bangabandhu Avenue. Prime minister got angry with this news.
BCL president Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury said, “Somebody kept the bottles at Gulistan party office and sent photos of bottles to the prime minister. We don’t have any involvement with it. This is a conspiracy. Why should one use the party office even if someone takes drugs? There are lots of other places.”
Awami League joint secretary Jahangir Kabir Nanak told Prothom Alo that the issue of BCL leadership might be discussed at the party’s central committee meeting on Saturday evening. It is the jurisdiction of the prime minister to take any decision.