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Barapukuria scandal: Official claims coal was not stolen, blames system loss

  • Published at 10:55 pm August 29th, 2018
Barapukuria coal mine
File photo of a section of the Barapukuria coal mine in Dinajpur Collected

Barapukuria power plant was shut down on July 22 after more than 142,000 tons of coal mysterious disappeared from the mine in Dinajpur

The suspended managing director (MD) of Barapukuria Coal Mining Company Ltd (BCMCL) has claimed that coal from the state-run mine was not stolen, and blamed system loss for the disappearance of the coal that led to the shutdown of Barapukuria Coal-fired Thermal Power Plant.

Habib Uddin Ahmed made the claim while talking to reporters after being interrogated by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officials at the ACC headquarters in Dhaka on Wednesday.

“The truth will come out after the investigation. We think around 1.4% coal disappeared from the site only, while 2-10 % system loss is acceptable internationally,” he added.

Total eight officials of Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation, better known as Petrobangla, including Habib, were quizzed on Wednesday by the ACC in a case filed over the disappearance of a huge cache of coal from the mine in Dinajpur.

ACC Deputy Director Shamsul Alam, also the case investigation officer, had led their interrogation, said the anti-graft watchdog’s spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya.

The other seven officials are MD (General Service) Masudur Rahman Hawlader; Manager (Production Management) Ashok Kumar Howlader; Manager (Maintenance and Operation) Arifur Rahman; Manager (Design, Construction and Maintenance) Jahidul Islam; Deputy Manager (Safety Management) Akramul Hoque; former general manager (Exploration), Company Secretary Abul Kashem Prdania; and Mosharraf Hossain,.

Nine additional officials accused in the case will also be interrogated on August 30. So far, 20 officials, including four MDs, have been questioned by the ACC.

The Barapukuria power plant was shut down on July 22 following the discovery of the mysterious disappearance of more than 142,000 tons of coal, worth around Tk230 crore, from the mine.

The coal was meant for use by the nearby 525MW power plant, which supplies electricity to the northern region districts, including Rangpur, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Dinajpur and Thakurgaon.

A case was filed at Parbatipur police station on July 24 over the incident. It was later transferred to the ACC.

On August 13, the ACC had served notice to 32 Petrobangla and BCMCL officials, asking them to appear before it for questioning.