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Corruption allegations proven against Shariatpur Forest Department

  • Published at 08:58 pm March 17th, 2017
  • Last updated at 09:03 pm March 17th, 2017
Corruption allegations proven against Shariatpur Forest Department
A syndicate was found guilty for corruption , after plotting to embezzle approximately Tk15cr by constructing illegal structures and planting trees in land acquired for the new cantonment project near the Padma bridge. The allegations were investigated and found to be true after a local, Kamal Khan, filed a complaint suspecting corruption. Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Shariatpur Md Mahmudul Hossain Khan has confirmed the news. Around 100 acres of land was acquired in Jazira by the Padma river for the construction of a new cantonment to house the 99 Composite Brigade, who will be deployed to ensure safety and security in the Padma Multipurpose Bridge area. The syndicate had constructed hundreds of illegal houses and structures, planted trees and dug ponds in the area, so as to claim residency and receive compensation from the government. The initial list of the Public Works Department (PWD) included 363 individuals that would be eligible to receive government compensation, worth a total of approximately Tk35cr, while the Forest Department listed 185 individuals and compensation of nearly Tk26cr. After a complaint was lodged by Kamal Khan to the DC, the allegations were brought to public attention by local media and newspapers. As a result of Kamal's complaint, the DC ordered PWD and the Forest Department to re-investigate their asset evaluations. [caption id="attachment_53074" align="aligncenter" width="690"]A house made by the syndicate A house made by the syndicate Photo: Dhaka Tribune[/caption]   PWD's re-investigation was conducted by Deputy Divisional Engineer ASM Shahriar, who had also run the initial evaluation and prepared the 363 persons list. The re-investigation on February 13, for nearly a thousand houses, was allegedly completed within two hours and refuted any dissimilarity to the initial findings. On the other hand, starting on February 18, the Forest Department invested 15 days and five officials from the neighbouring district's Forest Department office to re-investigate their evaluation and found discrepancies, with the actual existence of trees being worth approximately Tk11.18cr as opposed to Tk26cr. Through the investigation, it was also found that the remaining money, around Tk15cr, was to be embezzled by a syndicate with the help of Shariatpur Forest Department officer-in-charge Sudhir Chandra Rai. Locals said that the syndicate consisted of 15 people, including Shariatpur Judge's Court advocate Alamgir Hossain Hawladar. The Shariatpur DC said: “On receiving a complaint of corruption from a local against the PWD and Forest Department, I asked them to re-evaluate their findings. PWD have found no alterations to their initial findings. However, the allegations against the Forest Departmet for negligence was found true, and a variance of Tk15.3cr was later discovered.”