'Those who loot state resources and those who do not bring these criminals to justice are also doing great injustice'
A probe committee from the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has found that some 0.545 million metric tons of coal were stolen from the Barapukuria coal mine.
The association unveiled the findings at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity on Tuesday.
CAB also alleged that although a case has been filed over the theft of 0.144 million metric tons of coal from the mine, a vested quarter had been trying to evade punishment by terming the entire volume, “system loss.”
Speaking at the press conference, investigation committee chief Syed Abul Maksud said: “What happened in Barapukuria is much more than corruption. The government should not let the perpetrators go scot free.”
“Those who loot state resources and those who do not bring these criminals to justice are also doing great injustice,” he added.
CAB Energy Adviser Prof Dr M Shamsul Alam, who was also a member of the investigation committee, said: “Earlier, a loot of 300 tons of coal from the mine was kept hidden. They are trying to do the same this time too.”
“Not only the officials of Barapukuria, but also officials of the management board, Petrobangla, and the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, have failed in this regard. The Anti Corruption Commission pressed charges against 23 former and incumbent officials and employees of the Barapukuria Coal Mine Company Limited (BCMCL). CAB believes that along with the 23, officials of Petrobangla and the Energy and Mineral Resources Division should also be held accountable,” he added.
Energy expert and investigation committee member Badrul Imam said: “If we take Petrobangla’s suggestion into consideration, that 0.15 million metric tons were lost in system loss, then the total volume of coal stolen stands at 0.545 million.
On October 2019, a Dinajpur court issued arrest warrants against seven former Barapukuria coal mine managing directors and 16 others in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for stealing coal from the mine.
The list includes Barapukuria Coal Mine ex-MDs Md Mahbubur Rahman, Md Abdul Aziz Khan, Khurshid Alam, Kamruzzaman, Md Anisuzzaman, SM Nurun Auranzeb, Habib Uddin Ahmed, and 16 others.
From January 2006 till July 19, 2018, some 143,727.92 tons of coals were stolen from the mine. The estimated value of which is around Tk243 crore.