A staggering 50 lakh cubic feet (cft) of sand extracted by Bangladesh Water Development Board from the Meghna River in Ashuganj upazila of Brahmanbaria district has been illegally sold out.
Faruk Hossain, surveyor of Dhaka divisional estate office of Bangladesh Railway (BR), filed a case with Ashuganj Police Station on June 21 against Jony Munshi, son of incumbent Upazila Parishad Chairman Hanif Munshi, and Hanif's two nephews Rony Munshi and Chanchal Munshi on charge of involvement with the incident.
The local authorities of BR filed another case with the police station against Hanif Munshi and 12 others while a written complaint has been lodged to the railway minister in this connection.
According to the case filed by surveyor Faruk Hossain, the extracted sand was piled on an 9.5-acre land owned by Bangladesh Railway in February, 2018, but Hanif Munshi's men sold out the sand before completion of the tender process.
It was mentioned in the complaint lodged to the railway minister that the railway authorities arranged a tender on September 8 last year for selling the piled-up sand and Upazila Chairman Hanif Munshi was shown as the highest bidder.
But following allegations of a dubious tender process that secretly arranged participation of only three persons – the upazila chairman, his brother Zahangir Munshi, and personal assistant Ismail, the railway authorities cancelled the tender on December 19 that year.
Hanif Munshi filed a writ petition with the High Court on June 15 this year.
After three days, Hanif's son Jony Munshi and nephews Rony Munshi and Chanchal Munshi started selling the huge quantity of sand kept there, goes the complaint.
During a visit to the spot on July 1, it was found that almost all of the sand had been sold out.
Local sources said, the purchasers were given receipts in the name of firm 'Mizan Construction' and the sand was sold at Tk 4/5 per cft. The total selling price thus stands between Tk 2 to Tk 2.5 crore.
Contacted, Nazrul Islam, estate officer of Bangladesh Railway's Dhaka Division, said, "Although two cases have been filed with the police station concerned and a writ petition is pending with the court, the sand piled on the railway land has been surreptitiously sold out."
Countering the allegation of selling out the government-owned sand, upazila Chairman Hanif Munshi said, "I have filed a writ petition with the High Court. Hopefully, the decision will come in favour of me after the hearing. If I get the order, I can sell the sand."