The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday interrogated BNP executive committee member Tabith Awal over "suspicious transactions" in his bank accounts.
Tabith, son of BNP Vice-Chairman Abdul Awal Mintoo, appeared at the headquarters of the national anti-graft watchdog in Dhaka around 10am, said ACC spokesman Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.
He said ACC Deputy Director Akhter Hamid Bhuiyan quizzed the young BNP leader, who was the party's mayoral candidate in the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) held in April 2015, for nearly four hours.
Declining to make any comment on the allegations, Tabith described the ACC move as a ploy to divert people's attention from the existing issues including the sentencing of party chief Khaleda Zia in a graft case what BNP alleges is a “ploy to keep her out of the forthcoming general election.”
Earlier, the ACC launched an investigation into allegations of money laundering, amassing illegal wealth, and suspicious bank transactions against eight BNP leaders.
They include the party’s Standing Committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Nazrul Islam Khan, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, and Mirza Abbas, vice-chairmen Abdul Awal Mintoo and M Morshed Khan, and Joint Secretary General Habibun-Nabi Khan Sohel.
It also asked the BNP leaders to submit their wealth statements. ACC also sent letters to the banks concerned, seeking their transaction history.
The investigation was launched after some media outlets, quoting intelligence sources, published news reports that "suspicious” transactions of as much as Tk125 crore were made in 30 days through the bank accounts of BNP leaders.
Mintoo reportedly withdrew some Tk32 crore on February 11, 15, and 22 and his son Tabith withdrew around Tk20 crore within the 30-day period, according to the ACC officials concerned.
'ACC should investigate fairly, without harassment'
The ACC should conduct a fair investigation of the allegations against him – without any form of politically motivated harassment, Tabith said while addressing reporters after his interrogation at the ACC headquarters in Segunbagicha, Dhaka yesterday.
“If an accurate investigation is carried out [by ACC] without any political consideration, the truth will be revealed,” he said.
“I think, considering the current political situation, the government tries to persecute other political parties. I am not the only one who has been subjected to such persecution; it also includes all the other leaders of the party, including the former prime minister, Begum Khaleda Zia.”
Asked whether the interrogation by ACC would have any impact on his DNCC election candidacy, he said the order of the election has been postponed and it will be decided after the ACC’s investigation.
“I am still a candidate as per our law. I expect to participate in the election,” he added.