Many Chhatra League leaders often share on social media the prime minister’s quote “let high principles and simple way of living be your ideologies in life”. She had said this to Chhatra League many a time.
But the pro-AL student body’s now former president and general secretary had other ideas.
Chhatra League now former president Rezwanul Haque Chowdhury Shovon and general secretary Golam Rabbani used to live in Dhaka University dorms but after getting the posts, they started living in flats in Kathalbagan and Hatirpool that cost Tk 70,000 and Tk 40,000 in rent.
The Chhatra League charter does not allow them to have any job or be involved in any business.
Rabbani claimed he rented the 2,600 sqft flat in Hatirpool for just Tk 40,000, incredible value considering its location.
He told The Daily Star that his father and younger brother have been paying his rent since 2015.
Rabbani started using a Toyota Noah the day after becoming the general secretary body last year. Asked how he could afford such a vehicle; he said the microbus was not yet paid for and that there were pending installments. He did not say how he is paying the installments.
Shovon has the same car as well.
When they used to live in university dorms, they mostly used rickshaws to get around campus.
Rabbani, also the general secretary of Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Dcusu), installed an air conditioner in his Ducsu building office last month. He claimed that a well-wishing alumnus gave it to him.
On September 5, Shovon along with some of his followers flew back to Dhaka from Sylhet.
They used the VIP lounge of the Osmani International Airport and several local Chhatra League leaders went on the tarmac, violating airport security measures, to see them off.
Shovon could not be reached despite repeated attempts.
Chhatra League top leaders’ weakness in running the largest student organisation of the country has been in talks ever since the two were made president and general secretary.
Over a year into their two-year tenure, they could form only two out of 111 organisational committees (university, district, metropolitan units committees) they were supposed to form.
Despite being asked by AL President Sheikh Hasina and General Secretary Obaidul Quader, they failed to declare the fully-fledged central committee within a given time.
Ten months after being selected to the posts, they declared a committee on May 13 that included a few married people, non-students, extortionists, expelled Chhatra League men, drug dealers, and addicts, and former leaders and activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Islami Chhatra Shibir, according to insiders.
Such people are not allowed in Chhatra League, as per its charter.
The duo went to the Chhatra League office on Bangabandhu Avenue only seven times in over a year.
‘MONEY FOR POSTS’
Islamic University Chhatra League committee is one of the two committees the duo managed to form.
There are allegations that posts in the committee formed on July 13 was sold.
In a taped phone conversation that made its rounds in social media, reportedly Islamic University Chhatra League General Secretary Rakibul Hasan is heard saying that he paid Tk 40 lakh to become the general secretary but it did not matter since he could now make twice as much in six months.
The Daily Star obtained the 7.27-minute audio clip.
Rakib denied it was his voice.
The person on the other end of the call could not be identified.
Several Chhatra League leaders of Dhaka University alleged that Shovon’s followers set fire to equipment during a concert to celebrate Pahela Baishakh as Shovon did not get his cut of the sponsor’s money.
On July 6, 2017, Shahbagh police detained Shovon for drug abuse in Suhrawardy Udyan. He was later released after signing a bond that he would not do that again.
Recently, empty bottles of Phensidyl were discovered inside the Chhatra League office on Bangabandhu Avenue and the Prime Minister became angry hearing this.
ANNOYING THE AL HIGH-UPS
The duo also managed to make several senior AL leaders angry.
According to sources they would arrive late at meeting venues and keep the AL leaders waiting.
During a meeting at the Gono Bhaban last week, several senior AL leaders expressed their annoyance before Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Hasina too was reportedly enraged.
A few days later, the duo’s special passes to the Gono Bhaban were suspended.