Currently ACC Cox’s Bazar district assistant director Md Riaz Uddin is investigating the case.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said the investigation is on. No one can be arrested anew.

Not only in this case, there is no progress in the cases filed over the irregularities in the land acquisition in Cox’s Bazar and Chattogram and the corruption of Land Acquisition (LA) officials and employees.

In some cases, the investigation has not been finished even after long. The issue of bribes and corruption surfaced after Cox's Bazar LA section surveyor Atiqur Rahman was arrested in Dhaka with Tk 2.3 million. ACC filed a case against Atiqur Rahman with Cox's Bazar sadar police station.

The work of 72 projects of about Tk 3000 billion is going on in Cox's Bazar. Earlier, allegations of corruption of Tk 780 million in land acquisition surfaced in three investigations of ACC. The corruption cases in Cox's Bazar and Chattogram are carried out in the Chattogram divisional special judge court. Some 32 cases filed in connection with corruption in the LA sections in Cox's Bazar and Chattogram are under trial there. Some 26 cases are under investigation.

ACC Chattogram unit director Mahmud Hasan and Cox's Bazar deputy director Mainul Islam said pressure has been created on the officials concerned to carry out the investigation quickly.

No progress in investigation

In November 2019, ACC arrested Chattogram LA section chairman Nazrul and office assistant Taslim Uddin with a cheque of Tk 9.1 million and cash of Tk 750,000. Later while carrying out investigation, ACC found information of assets of Tk 31.4 million in the name of Nazrul and his wife Anwara Begum. Another case was filed against Nazrul and his wife.

ACC said Nazrul would get monthly salary of Tk 25,000 ahead of his arrest. He is now on bail. His wife is on the run. It hasn't been possible to arrest her in two and a half years.

ACC Chattagram unit deputy director Atiqul Alam is investigating the case. Speaking to Prothom Alo, he said the investigation is going on.

Trial hanging

On 28 October 2019, ACC arrested Cox's Bazar's Maheskhali upazila assistant commissioner (land) Abdur Rahman for taking a bribe of Tk 210,000. In May 2021, the charge was framed in the case filed in this connection. Dates were being fixed but no deposition has taken place.

The next date has been fixed for 25 August. On 14 October 2014, Tk 5.8 million was recovered from a bag of a middleman, Ilias Bhuiyan, at police check post at the entrance of Chattogram court building. Later in the investigation, it was found he was going to the court building's LA section's Shahidul Islam with the money. In the investigation, it surfaced who gave the money to Ilias. ACC issued the charge sheet accusing only surveyors Shahidul and Ilias. The case is under trial at Chattogram divisional special judge court.

When asked about the delay in taking deposition, ACC Chattogram unit lawyer Mahmudul Haque said, "It is delayed as the witnesses are not turning up. We hope witnesses can be brought on the next date."

'Corruption encouraged'

Different projects including Mirserai economic zone in Chattogram, Dohazari Gundum Rail line project, gas line project are underway. There are allegations that land owners have to pay commission 20 to 25 per cent to get compensation for land acquisition. Concerned district officials get share of this money.

ACC found evidence of bribes in the land acquisition of three projects including water purification project in Cox’s Bazar municipality. ACC found involvement of around 250 people including officials, employees of Cox’s Bazar district administration, middlemen, and people’s representatives. However, ACC deputy director Sharif was transferred and terminated before completion of investigation.

Chattogram unit Shujan secretary Aktar Kabir Chowdhury said, the high officials who are involved in the corruption of land acquisition have to be brought under the trail. Bribes are not possible without support of the high officials, he added.

* This report, originally published in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten into English by Rabiul Islam

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