They have allegedly been funding militants in different regions of Bangladesh for a long time
The Organized Crime unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has arrested eight people, for allegedly embezzling money to finance militancy through a non-government organization (NGO).
The eight were arrested from the Ramna area of Dhaka on Sunday.
The arrestees have been identified as Fazlul Haque Rikabder, Humaun Kabir, Ashraful Haque, Asgar Hossain, Shekh Shahjahan Kabir, Md Monirul Islam, Abdur Rouf, and Al Mamun Khandokar.
Confirming the matter, CID Special Superintendent of Police (SS) Mollah Nazrul said the eight had been arrested in a case under the Money Laundering Prevention Act.
“The group received money from religious extremists both at home and abroad. They embezzled the money to fund militant activities and campaign for fundamentalism in different parts of Bangladesh,” he added.
The SS further said most of the funds were received as foreign grants for the Bangladesh Chashi Kalyan Samity. Instead of being used for the welfare of farmers, some of the money was used to build mosques and madrasas, while the rest was used to campaign for fundamentalism and fund militancy.
According to the police official, former Jamaat-e-Islami nayeb-e-amir Maulana Abul Kalam Mohammad Yusuf founded the Bangladesh Chashi Kalyan Samity in 1977. The organization was registered with the Department of Social Services in 1992 and with the NGO Affairs Bureau in 2005.
Maulana Abul Kalam Mohammad Yusuf died in 2014, while still under trial for war crimes committed during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
Since its inception, the Bangladesh Chashi Kalyan Samity has communicated its activities to the secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh through formal letters. Later, agriculturalists that were part of Jamaat formed Nobo Krishi Private Limited and the Nobodhara Kalyan Foundation to campaign for fundamentalism and fund militancy, SS Mollah Nazrul said.
Investigation has revealed that Tk62.5 crore in foreign grants were transferred to the account of Bangladesh Chashi Kalyan Samity from 2007-2018. These grants included funds from religious extremists in Turkey.
Turkish religious extremists used to send funds to a man named Mostaque Ahmed Kha. After a case was filed against Mostaque, the extremists began sending funds to the Bangladesh Chashi Kalyan Samity instead, the SS added.
The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit arrested Nobodhara Kalyan Foundation Executive Officer Hasanul Bannah and Nobo Krishi Private Limited employee Ismail Hossain from Mirpur on February 14 this year. Nobodhara Kalyan Foundation Organising Secretary Muhammad Masud had appointed them to fund militant activities and encourage religious fundamentalism, Mollah Nazrul said.
A total Tk52 lakh was transferred from the account of Bangladesh Chashi Kalyan Samity to Nobo Krishi Private Limited, under the directive of Jamaat-e-Islami leader and former MP of Cox's Bazar 2 (Maheshkhali-Kutubdia) Hamidur Rahman Azad. This money was embezzled and used to fund militancy, the police official added.
He further said four cases regarding the matter had been filed with Dhaka’s Ramna, Kafrul, Habiganj Sadar, and Habiganj Baniachong police stations.
Police are in the process of finding some members of the group who had escaped, the SS added.