Many residents of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) have been scammed by a group of people, seemingly representing DNCC. These imposters went inside houses and took around Tk20,000 from the owners “to set up holding name plates with GPRS devices”.
The residents also claim that when they tried to contact these fake officials, their phones were found to be switched off.
A Facebook user, Sayed Saiful Alam Shovon, posted such an experience on his timeline on July 19. His post warns others about such imposters so that more victims do not get scammed.
He also uploaded two photos of the money receipt Dr Shahedur Rahman, a victim, received from the imposters.
In the same post, many denizens of Mirpur shared similar experiences.
Mohammad Monzurul Alam wrote in a comment: “The residents of Mirpur were also deceived by these people. City Corporation cannot avoid its responsibilities, in any way.”
This correspondent contacted Dr Shahedur Rahman, a resident of Lalmatia, Zone 5 of DNCC, and found that the accusation was true.
Dr Shahedur Rahman is head of the Computer Science Department at a university. He came to Dhaka from London a few months ago. He said that Md Shafiqur Rahman came to his house on March 28, 2017. Shafiqur told Shahedur that he was sent there from the DNCC office to register residents for the installation of holding name plates with GPRS devices, and that it was the last day for registration.
After noticing that Shafiqur wore an official DNCC ID card and had city corporation forms with him, Shahedur believed him right away. Shafiqur asked for Tk17,470 to place the name plate with a GPRS device. Shafiqur also said that this GPRS number plate was a digital system which would have all the information about Shahedur’s house including its location, tax, etc and it would start working within 21 working days.
“I paid the man. But after a few days, when I tried to contact him repeatedly, his phone was switched off,” Shahedur said.
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Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain
Expressing his anger, Shahedur added that he had emailed the DNCC mayor regarding the incident several times, but he was yet to receive a response from any DNCC official.
Several other holdings owners from the area also fell victim to this scam.
Fifty-year-old Akter Hussain, another resident of Lalmatiya, said: “A man came to our house and asked for money to set up a holding name plate with a GPRS device. He had the official registration forms with him. As I knew someone who works at DNCC office, I refused to pay the man and he went away. When I got in touch with my contact, he said that there was no such GPRS holding plate facility provided by the DNCC.”
A manager of a house in Lalmatiya’s Block D, Lal Miya, said: “A few months ago, a person came to this house with some papers. He was wearing a DNCC ID card. He said he came from the DNCC office in Karwan Bazar. My employer is old so he was easily deceived by the imposter who took Tk20,000 from him in the name of setting up a holding name plate with a GPRS device.”
“Later, when we could not reach the man’s phone as it was switched off, we realised we had been conned,” Lal Miya added.
When contacted, Chief Revenue Officer Rabindra Sri Barua said the DNCC had given the responsibility of installing holding name plates to three organisations – Prottasha Shomaj Unnoyon Shongho, Digital Tech and Susomaj Foundation. Representatives from these organisations were supposed to go to every house and install the plates – charging them Tk370 each.
“But, later we found out that they were charging house owners up to Tk3000 for the service. Moreover, they did not set up the plates in most of the houses and some houses were given plates with wrong holding numbers,” Rabindra added.
When asked about the official papers and forms used by the imposters, he said: “They must have printed out our logo and papers, we did not give them those papers. Also, DNCC did not offer the GPRS device system facility at all.”
He further said that, after they noticed the irregularities in the service provided, they had asked the three organisations to meet DNCC officials, but they did not do so.
“They broke our contract so we took action in 2015. DNCC also filed a case with Gulshan police station on Nov 23, 2015 against Prottasha Shomaj Unnoyon Shongho representative Al Aminur Rahman. He was arrested,” Rabindra said.
He also said that the group of imposters had started scamming the residents again. “So, we have asked our officials from each zone to file cases against the imposters. In a few days, we will make an announcement in the media to spread awareness among residents,” he added.
DNCC Mayor Annisul Haq was not found at his office nor could he be reached by phone for comment during the filing of this report.
Gulshan police station OC Abu Bakar Siddique said they have not yet submitted a charge sheet regarding this case and that they are still investigating the matter.