War criminal Mir Quasem’s assets change ownership despite legal bar

Dipu Sarwar
Published : 07:30, Aug 24, 2019 | Updated : 13:09, Aug 24, 2019

Once-business tycoon, war criminal Mir Quasem Ali pumped billions into Jamaat-e-Islami between the mid-1980s till his detention and helped the Islamist party put on a firm financial footing in Bangladesh. FILE PHOTOExecuted war criminal Mir Quasem Ali’s assets have been transferred despite a legal bar on their sale or registry.
According to an order by the Directorate of Registration order, his assets are barred from being sold, transferred or registered in any other name on account of his being convicted of crimes against humanity.
Bangla Tribune found that, despite the order three flats and 11 shops located at ‘Keari Crescent,’ a building owned by Quasem’s company Keari Limited at Satmasjid Road have changed ownership.
Keari Crescent Tower in Dhanmondi PHOTO/Sazzad HossainInvestigations found two public housing ministry’s development branch-7 deputy secretaries SM Nazrul Islam and Abdul Wadud aided the transfer process. These two officials arranged for the handovers through several orders between November last year till February of this year.
The two officials didn’t receive calls despite several attempts on Bangla Tribune’s part to reach them for comments.
“There is a bar on the sale, handover and registry of war criminal Mir Kasem,” said Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque.
He added that the matter would be looked into and that it’s the people and freedom fighters’ demand that the assets of the war criminals be seized and added to the state’s treasury.
In April last year, Dhaka District Registrar Dipak Kumar Sarker wrote to the registry directorate chief regarding the bar on handing over or registering documents for assets belonging to Mir Kasem or any of his organisation.
A copy of the letter that said in April of last year, some properties of Keari Limited were presented at the registry office in Uttara, was also sent to the law minister and secretary.
The law secretary and minister both ordered the officers to refrain from registering the documents.
Registry directorate Inspector General Khan Md Abdul Mannan issued an order regarding the bar and the copies of that order were sent to the registry office, registrar of joint-stock companies and farms and money exchange agencies across the country.
Mannan didn’t receive the call either when Bangla Tribune tried to reach him for comments on how the assets were transferred despite the order.
Investigations found that deputy secretary SM Nazrul Islam cleared the transfer of two flats with combined floor space of 1,084 square foot at the 13-storied ‘Keari Crescent on Jan 29 of this year.
mir-6Keari Limited Managing Director Shamsul Huda was shown as the one selling while Khandaker Habiba was shown to have purchased the flat for nearly Tk 5.7 million although its market value is over Tk 20 million.
Sub-register Lutfor Rahman who was involved with the clearance said, “It didn’t say war criminal’s assets anywhere, hence there is no issue with the transferring the deeds.”
He also cleared the transfer of 7 shops between Jan 3 and Feb 14 of this year. The transfer of the rest of the five shops was cleared by Deputy Secretary Md Abdul Wadud. The two of them also cleared another flat at the same building.
Keari Limited MD Huda couldn’t be reached for comment.
Mir Quasem, a once-top financier of Jamaat-e-Islam’s top financier, was the founding president of the party’s student with Islami Chhatra Shibir, a rechristened Pakistan Chhatra Sangha, in 1977.
A Chittagong Al-Badr commander, Quasem was hanged for torturing freedom fighters to death at Dalim Hotel of the port city’s Anderkella during the War of Independence in 1971.
As one of several vigilante militias formed by Jamaat's student wing, the Al-Badr assisted the Pakistan Army for committing genocide, mass killing, rape, arson, loot, forced exile of Bengalis who supported the freedom struggle with Quasem was said to be the third man in Al-Badr command structure.
PHOTO/Sazzad HossainOnce-business tycoon, Quasem pumped billions into the Islamist party between the mid-1980s till his detention and helped Jamaat put on a firm financial footing in the country.
He was the owner of Keari Group and also had shares in several companies including Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited and Ibn Sina Trust.
Quasem was arrested on Jun 17 of 2012 for crimes against humanity in 1971. The International Crimes Tribunal indicted him in September next year.
He was given death penalties in two cases and life sentence in eight cases. His execution was carried out on Sep 3 at Kashimpur Central Jail.