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Court orders to confiscate Benazir’s assets, freeze bank accounts

Staff Reporter:

A Dhaka court on Thursday ordered the authorities concerned to confiscate properties and freeze bank accounts of former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed.

Judge Mohammad As-Shams Jaglul Hossain of Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge’s Court passed the order following a petition filed by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Deputy Director Md Hafizul Islam, also the inquiry officer of the corruption allegations against the former police chief, said the bench assistant of the court.

In the order, the court directed the authorities to seize the land properties in Gopalganj encompassed by 83 deeds and freeze 33 bank accounts involved in the investments.

Several newspapers, including the Kaler Kantho and the Daily Sun, in early April published a series of reports detailing the wealth and properties allegedly acquired through illegal means by Benazir Ahmed and his family members which sparked a widespread discussion throughout the country.

Supreme Court lawyer Syed Sayedul Haque Suman approached the ACC seeking an investigation into allegations against former IGP Benazir Ahmed of amassing huge illegal wealth by abusing power.

Later, the High Court asked the ACC to submit a progress report on the investigation into the alleged illegal wealth of the former IGP and his family within two months.

The ACC formed a committee to investigate corruption allegations against Benazir and his family members.

According to newspaper reports, the former IGP built Savanna Eco-Resort and five other companies in Bairagitol village of Gopalganj with an investment of over Tk500 crore.

Benazir’s wife Zeeshan Mirza serves as the designated chairperson, while his elder daughter Farheen Rishta Binte Benazir holds the position of managing director and his younger daughter Tahseen Raisa Binte Benazir is a director of Savanna Eco-Resort.

In Purbachal, he built a duplex villa spread over 40 kathas of land with an estimated value of at least Tk45 crore and owns another 10 bighas of land worth Tk22 crore.

The former police boss has been implicated in an incident involving the acquisition of forest department land to obtain 25% equity shares in a luxury resort in Gazipur owned by a prominent industrial conglomerate.

Benazir invested undisclosed earnings in ventures, including Padma Bank, the Canadian University of Bangladesh, Best Western Premier and Hotel Ramada in Cox’s Bazar, Concorde Hotel and Suites in Dubai, and gold business in Singapore.

The huge property seems irrational in proportion to his official earnings of Tk1.85 crore during the service spanning 34 years and seven months before retiring as the 30th IGP of the country.

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