A contractor yesterday claimed that Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury embezzled money from him. He made this allegation at a human chain organised by amarmp.com in front of Sylhet Shaheed Minar.
The allegation was made by Sonjoy Ray, owner of Shompatopa Enterprise. He claimed that the mayor transferred Tk 4.24 crore of the Nagar Bhaban contract to his [mayor] relative's account, depriving the contractor.
The mayor denied this allegation and claimed that he did not know anyone called Sonjoy Ray.
At the human chain, Sonjoy claimed that the Tk 16.08 crore contract of Nagar Bhaban construction was given to Mahbub Brothers Pvt Ltd on 2014, and Shompatopa Enterprise was given the subcontract by the main contractor.
“I was in India for treatment when the mayor transferred Tk 2.66 crore to his relative's account, depriving me. Just before last year's Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) election, the mayor also transferred Tk 1.58 crore of the security deposit to that account,” said Sonjoy reading out a statement.
He said the mayor had told the main contractor that he would pay Sonjoy directly, but instead he deposited money to the relative's account.
“I went to the mayor's house to claim my money before the election. But he forced me to hand him a blank check. He threatened to put an arbitrary figure on the check and file a case against me for loan defaulting if I claim any money from him again,” he alleged.
Sonjoy filed a written complaint to Sylhet deputy commissioner yesterday morning, and also notified Anti-Corruption Commission and police in writing.
Denying Sonjoy's claim, Mayor Ariful said the [only] contractor was Mahbub Brothers and the contract ended as per the rules.
“All bills have been paid to the legal contractor [Mahbub Brothers] through a check, and the security deposit has also been returned to them by pay order. The time that Sonjoy mentioned, I was in jail. As I have won the election again, a group is conspiring against me,” he said.
This correspondent could not reach Mahbub Brothers Pvt Ltd for comments.