Akbar Hajj Groups Bangladesh has embezzled around Tk50 crore from over 2,000 pilgrims who were hoping to participate in the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in 2018. The chairman of the group Mufti Lutfar Rahman Faruqi has fled abroad with his family members.
However, his wife Tamanna Rahman, owner of Ababil Overseas was arrested on April 4. The court has sent her for a two-day remand.
The case filed in this regard has already been transferred to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
On Thursday Paltan police station Sub-Inspector (SI) Arshad said: “Mufti Lutfar Rahman Faruqi’s wife Tamanna Rahman was arrested from Chattogram airport. A Dhaka court has granted permission to send her for a two-day remand. ”
Sources in the police and Hajj office said Akbar Groups has taken around Tk50 crore from over 2,000 Hajj pilgrims through various agencies. But the company closed down all offices and fled with the money without registering the pilgrims for Hajj.
Representing the Hajj pilgrims and guides, Md Abdur Rakib from Naogaon district’s Atrai police station made an application to the Hajj office. On March 2, he acted as the plaintiff and filed a case in this regard at the Paltan police station.
Md Abdur Rakib said: “The Hajj group pressured the pilgrims and took more money than necessary. They took Tk2.5 lakh from each pilgrim. The chairman of the group fled with his family after embezzling a total Tk50 crore from over 2,000 Hajj pilgrims.”
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The accused in the case filed in this regard are: chairman of Akbar Hajj Group Mufti Lutfar Rahman Faruqi, his wife and owner of Ababil Overseas Tamanna Rahman, his daughter and owner of Near and Far Sumaiya Rahman, son in law Abdul Baki, PS Mamunur Rashid, accounting officer Abdul Hannan, proprietor Jahangir Alam, owner of Sumaiya International Mosharraf Hossain, owner of Akbar Travel and Tours Akbar Hossain Monju, owner of Aftab Travels Mukaram Kabir, owner of Sirajam Munira Air Travels Harunur Rashid, owner of Sunrise Air International Md Saidur Rahman owner of Sundar Air Express Maksudur Rahman and Md Ilias Hossain and owner of Suhail Air International Agency Tanvir Ahmed Sohail.
According to details mentioned in the case, 3,500 people were pre-registered for the 2018 Hajj. There were 300 Hajj guides in total and 20-100 pilgrims were supposed to be under each guide. Akbar Hajj Groups told the pilgrims and guides to pay Tk1 lakh for housing in Mecca.
The pilgrims were pressured via text massages and calls from November 2017 to pay the full amount. The Hajj guides collected money from the pilgrims and submitted it to the company bank account. Owner of Akbar Travel and Tours Akbar Hossain Monju instructed the pilgrims to pay Tk2.5 lakh. The Hajj guides and pilgrims paid the full amount before the registration. Several of the accused assured the pilgrims that the registration was complete.
The final registration for Hajj began from March 6. After not receiving a confirmation of registration on April 1, which was the last date of Hajj registration, some guides and pilgrims went to the company’s office but did not find anyone there. The chairman’s phone number was found to be turned off. They phoned Jahangir Hossain, Mokaram Karim and Mosharaf Hossain but they did not answer any calls.
Paltan police station SI Arshad said: “The accused will be arrested and the case will then be handed over to the CID.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com