Muktijoddha Club caught in quagmire of aberrations

Rafsan Jani
Published : 07:00, Dec 06, 2019 | Updated : 07:00, Dec 06, 2019

FILE PHOTOBangladesh Muktijoddha Sangsad Krira Chakra had been mired in a plethora of vices, ranging from illegal gambling to selling of drugs to casinos. Such activities went on under the patronage of influential people.
The list of influential persons includes: ousted Jubo League leader of Dhaka south, Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat, MP of Dhaka-8 and Workers’ Party president Rashed Khan Menon, Dhaka south city former president and Bhola-3 MP Nurunnabi Chowdhury Shaon and AL joint president of Shahbagh thana Ali Mohammad Bhandari.
Of them, Samrat is in prison and law enforcers are looking for Ali Mohamman, who is in hiding.
Rashed Khan Menon and Nurunnabi Chowdhury have refuted their involvement in unlawful acts of the club.
The club was leased for all sorts of indoor games and the proceeds from these were used to run the football team.
Since 2009 till the anti casino drive of September last, unpaid dues from the party who leased the club stood at Tk 120 million. A case has been lodged to recover the money.
The club is currently overseen by additional secretary of the Ministry of the Liberation War affairs, Md. Zahurul Islam. He says: “Some unscrupulous people exploited the club premises and did not pay the rent; we are now trying to recover the money.”
From 2009, the club was leased by Harun ur Rashid Harun and he did not pay the rent for leasing the club. A case was lodged against him in 2013 for recovering Tk. 47.1 million in outstanding rent. Later, his deal was cancelled. Then the lease was given to Rafiqul Islam in another bidding.
There was a delay in handing over the lease to Rafiq and the matter went to court. Meanwhile, previous owner Harun died but the case against him got mired in complication since he had two wives.
Rafiqul Islam says: “I deposited Tk 5 million but have not received the operational duty as yet.”
Rafiqul lodged several complaints to the PM’s office over leasing irregularities. The PM’s office wanted to know from the relevant ministry as to how people loyal to Harun ran the club when the contract with him was cancelled.
With the matter in a tangle, a meeting was held with Bhola-3 MP Shaon, Muktijoddha Sangsad central command chairman Helal Morshed Khan, and others.
In this meeting, Shaon vehemently protested a contract with Rafiqul saying that if he took over, anti-social activities would become rampant at the club. Another round of talks was held at the office of Rashed Khan Menon.
Shaon, however, claimed that he was not present at the meeting held at Rashed Khan Menon’s office and refuted all allegations of having links to the club or any of its operations.
Since 2013, the club went under Ali Ahmad Bhandari, Shabagh thana joint secretary of AL.
Apparently a Tk 10 million investment deal was made with Ali Ahmad for constructing shops, and canteens in the club. As per the deal, the money was supposed to be deposited in the club account. However, Ali did not spend any money in the last two years for the construction of canteen or shops.
Reportedly, Ali Ahed took over the club with the help of ousted Jubo League leader Samrat. They also used Harun’s wife Beauty as a front.