Mountain of illegal wealth: Gazi’s APS Dada Emdad under ACC probe

Emdadul Haque alias Dada Emdad, assistant private secretary (APS) of former Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi, has allegedly amassed huge wealth abusing power over the last decade.

An investigation by the national daily Kaler Kantho reveals that during his tenure as the APS he has built a mountain of illegal wealth in the capital, neighboring Rupganj, and his hometown Sirajganj district. His assets in Sirajganj alone surpass Tk100 crore.

Emdadul, son of Montu Mia of Dargah Para village in Shahjadpur municipality of Sirajganj, has recently invested in dredging and real estate business in different areas. He has been involved in various crimes including extortion, land grabbing, illegal drug business and patronising terrorists in Rupganj.

Emdad has transformed overnight, going from an ordinary person to someone living luxuriously with the sudden influx of illegal money. However, these illegal assets of Dada Emdad are now under the net of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). The commission has already sent a letter to him seeking detailed information about his wealth. He, however, failed to answer to the letter, said ACC sources. Locals from Rupganj and Sirajganj said, “The APS is ‘more powerful’ than Minister Gazi. No entrepreneurs can start factories without giving extortion to Emdadul.”

Most of the identified terrorists in Rupganj have close relations with him. The criminals shared photos with the controversial APS and Minister Gazi on social media different times. A minister’s APS draws salary under the sixth grade (Tk35,500-67,010) at the rank of senior assistant secretary. APS Emdadul drew Tk1.5 crore as salary in the last 13 years. With this limited salary, an officer cannot amass such huge wealth in different parts of the country.

Over Tk100 crore wealth in Sirajganj:

Emdadul has built a palace, a house and market expending millions of taka in home town of Shahjadpur upazila in Sirajganj. In the investigation, it is revealed that Emdad has amassed a wealth of around one hundred crores taka in his hometown of Shahjadpur Upazila in Sirajganj. He owns approximately 50 decimals of land in Ward No. 5 of the municipality’s Dargahpara. Currently, the value of these lands is at least Tk25 lakh per decimal, totaling his wealth here to around Tk12.5 crore. Apart from this, he owns at least 14 shops in a market established on 7 decimals of land in Manirampur Bazar under Ward No. 3 of the municipality, with a current market value of around Tk2.8 crore. Adjacent to it is a building on 4 decimals of land worth at least Tk1.5 crore. Moreover, he possesses 14 decimals of land in Dariyapur under Ward No. 8. Currently, the market value of the land is around Tk45 lakh per decimal.

Illegal wealth in Dhaka:

During a field investigation in South Banasree in the capital on Sunday, it was learned that Emdadul owns a high-walled building near South Banasree Jame Masjid (House 30/B-30/C of Road No. 13/3 of K Block). Besides, the controversial officer owns 14 flats in two buildings in Basabo, according to Saiful Islam, former caretaker of his house. Emdadul lives in an apartment of Best Living Limited at North Basabo, according to media investigation. Its security guard said Emdadul has two flats in that apartment building. He lives on the 5th floor. The price of the flat is at least Tk50 lakh. There is a car with government sticker in this building. Sources say Emdadul has also invested in housing business. He holds 15% stakes in Rimjhim Land Developer. Besides, the corrupt officer took plots anonymously from different housing projects in Rupganj.

Illegal gas connection:

In different areas of Rupganj upazila, he gave illegal gas connections through low-quality pipes from Titas. To provide this connection, he formed a syndicate with Titas officials and employees and local terrorists. The government is losing crores of taka as revenue due to the illegal connections. The minister’s APS earned illegal money as extortion through providing at least 1.5 lakh gas connections in residential and commercial projects in Rupganj. Locals said a one-time payment of Tk30,000- 40,000 is required for each residential connection. For commercial connections, one has to pay a minimum of Tk2-15 lakh depending on the gas pressure. Hasanur Rahman, a resident of Tarabo municipality, said the unholy practice is run in connivance with the local administration and Titas employees.

Dredging and sand business:

Being the APS of the minister, Emdadul’s affinity with the local influencers of Rupganj has increased. He took control of dredging and sand business there. Investigation revealed that two dredgers were operated under the supervision of Rupganj Jubo League President Kawsar. From these two dredgers, sand filling work is currently going on in Belabo, Qutubpur, Mochartaluk Mauza and Rimjhim Abasan. Due to the power of Emdadul, it was not possible to stop this san

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