Former DSCC mayor Khokon claims Taposh wanted to cover up own ‘boundless inadequacy’
DSCC Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh has declined to comment on the accusations levelled against him by his predecessor Sayeed Khokon, describing the matter as sub judice.
On behalf of Taposh, DSCC Public Relations Officer Abu Naser on Tuesday said: “The matter [corruption case against Khokon] is being investigated by the court and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). As such, the DSCC mayor has no interest in making a comment on it.”
Earlier in the day, former mayor Khokon during a press conference at the National Press Club said that he had no objections to the ACC inquiry, but demanded that the commission unfreeze the bank accounts belonging to him and his family members. The accounts hold nearly Tk7.63 crore.
“The ACC did not give my family any notice and has frozen these accounts without giving us a chance to defend ourselves,” he said, denying all corruption allegations.
Khokon is the son of late Mohammad Hanif, the first elected mayor of the undivided Dhaka City Corporation. A member of the Awami League’s Central Working Committee, Khokon served as DSCC mayor from April 2015 to May 2020.
He sought the party’s nomination for the DSCC elections last year, but the party picked former Dhaka 10 MP Taposh, the son of the late Awami Jubo League founder Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni.
Khokon on Tuesday claimed that Taposh had instigated the corruption case against him as part of “malicious tactics” to “cover up his own boundless inadequacy.”
Addressing Taposh directly, Khokon said: “People know how many votes you got when you were elected. The people of Dhaka city can see what you are doing.”
The allegations against Khokon
On Sunday, a Dhaka court ordered the authorities concerned to freeze eight bank accounts belonging to Sayeed Khokon's businesses and three of his family members.
Senior Special Judge KM Emrul Kayesh issued the order after accepting a petition submitted by ACC Deputy Director Jalal Uddin Ahmed, who is the investigation officer of the case.
The three others accused in the case are Khokon’s wife Farhana Alam, mother Fatema Hanif and sister Shahana Hanif.
The petition noted that a large amount of money had been transacted through the eight accounts, and it was therefore imperative to block the accounts immediately to ensure that no money was withdrawn, handed over or transferred until a proper investigation had been carried out.
Of the accounts, three are Khokon’s business accounts. One of the accounts belongs to his mother Fatema, and two each to his sister Shahana and wife Farhana.
On December 29 last year, Khokon and six others were sued by a businessman on charges of embezzling around Tk35 crore.
Md Delwar Hossain, president of the Businessmen and Owners’ Association of Fulbaria City Supermarket-2 in Gulistan, filed the case with a Dhaka court.
On January 9, Khokon claimed that Taposh was no longer eligible for the office due to corruption. His allegations followed the announcement of the DSCC’s eviction drives against illegal shops, many of which were set up under Khokon’s tenure as the mayor.
The former mayor alleged that Taposh had transferred hundreds of crores from DSCC funds to Modhumoti Bank, which Taposh owns, to make illegal profits.
“The mayor has violated the City Corporation Act 2009,” Khokon said, adding that Taposh should shun corruption himself before looking into the corruption of other DSCC officials.
Two days later, two lawyers sued Khokon for defaming the mayor.
In response, Taposh brushed off the allegations and described Khokon's remarks as “insignificant”.
At an event on January 12, Taposh said: “As a private bank, Modhumoti Bank takes deposits from many government, semi-government and autonomous bodies. Even before I took charge, there were business or service transactions between DSCC and Modumoti Bank, and they are still there.”
He also urged the complainants to withdraw the defamation cases filed against his predecessor, claiming that he had not been involved in the process.