Aslam Chy arrest: Govt staging drama to hide talk of $300m: BNP

Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh Nationalist Party on Tuesday claimed that the government was creating a drama over Aslam Chowdhury to hush up the issue of US$ 300m and the theft of Bangladesh Bank reserve money from the Federal Reserve Bank in New York.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi made the allegation at a news briefing at the party’s central office.
He was asked about a report run by BBC Bangla news portal which stated that an Indian host expressed surprise over the branding of Israel Likud Party leader Mendi N Safadi as a ‘spy’, whom BNP joint secretary general Aslam Chowdhury met in India.
Supporting the news item run by BBC Bangla, Rizvi said the matter of 300 million dollar (centering ‘Sajeeb Wazed Joy’) is now on the lips of people across the country, as is the theft from the national exchequer which involves names of individuals related with the government.
He said the government was facing strong criticism over these issues and created a drama over Aslam Chowdhury to counter these issues.
He said the government is doing this to confuse people by bringing up the name of Israel.
The BNP leader mentioned an alleged ‘secret’ visit of late Awami League leader and foreign minister Abdus Samad Azad to Israel in 2000 and Bangladesh ambassador in Philippines John Gomez inviting the Israeli ambassador there to a dinner at his residence in Philippines in 2014.
Rizvi said the government was saying Aslam Chowdhury had a meeting with Israel intelligence agency, but Aslam is a businessman and went to India on a business trip.
He asked if any meeting was held between a political party leader and a ‘spy’ then why would photos of that meeting be uploaded on a Facebook page every hour. No one will believe it, he said.
Rizvi said Awami League has strong relations with India and the Indian government reiterated its support to the incumbent ‘unelected’ AL government recently. It is nothing short of ridiculous to think that any person from BNP would conspire on Indian soil to overthrow the government in Bangladesh, he said.
He condemned the arrest of BNP standing committee member Rafiqul Islam Mia saying Rafiqul had become a victim of persecution for speaking up against the government’s misdeeds.
He demanded unconditional release of Rafiqul by withdrawing all ‘false’ cases against him.
The BNP senior joint secretary general condemned the police attack on processions and the arrested of leaders and activists in many districts, including Patuakhali, Gazipur, Mymensingh, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Barisal and Khulna during the party’s countrywide demonstration programme on Sunday.
Rizvi alleged that police and local administration were harassing BNP leaders and activists, and voters, ahead of the fifth phase of the union parishad polls scheduled on May 28 and municipal polls on May 25 in Brahmanbaria. Police did not allow BNP candidates for UP and municipal polls to stay at their respective areas, he said.
He said becoming elected uncontested is spreading in the ongoing polls due to the rule of the ‘illegal gun of miscreants under prime minister Sheikh Hasina’.
He said 42 Awami League candidates were elected uncontested in the fifth phase of UP polls. The incumbent Election Commission was fulfilling all the ‘ill-desires’ of the government.
BNP leaders Moazzem Hossain Alal, Khairul Kabir Khokon, Abdus Salam, Shirin Sultana and Abdus Salam Azad among others were present.

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