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Man without electricity connection jailed for overdue bills

  • Published at 04:06 pm April 19th, 2019
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Picture of Abdul Matin jailed for overdue bills on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The Chief Judicial Magistrate granted him bail after hearing a writ petition

A day labourer, Abdul Matin, 45, has allegedly been sent to jail for not paying electricity bills, even though his house at Mochagora village in Muradnagar upazila, Comilla, has no electrical line.

He was jailed on Wednesday, but then, Chief Judicial Magistrate Sohel Rana granted him bail after hearing a writ petition filed by Mohammad Sanaullaha  Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) lawyer—on Thursday evening.

Confirming to Dhaka Tribune after receiving  bail, Abdul Matin said:" I never had electricity in the first place. How come I was jailed for not paying the electricity bill? I want a justification from the authority."

Some locals—including Manik Master, Syed Tarun Miya, and Salim Sarker—exclaimed that the arrest of Abdul Matin, is a utter injustice. They blamed the corrupt officials of Polli Bidyut Samity for the event.

According to Polli Bidyut Samity 1, they formed a probe body of two high officials and ordered them to submit a report on the matter within 48 hours.

The two-member probe committee confirmed the allegations made by Matin and justified him as innocent.

Deputy General Manager of Debidwar Zonal Office and the head of the probe committee, Mrinal Kanti Chowdhury, confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune and said: "The Polli Bidyut Samity mistakenly gave Matin's connection to Shafiqul Islam's house, who is a one of Matin’s neighbours. Shafiqul did not report or pay any bills of the connection. So the inconvenience occurred."

General Manager of Comilla Palli Bidyut Samity 1, Mostafizur Rahman said: "The issue happened due to a misunderstanding. We are looking into it.

According to sources, 256 families of Mochagora village applied for electricity connections to Palli Bidyut Samity, four years ago. Local brokers Abul Kalam Azad and Abul Bashar promised to speed up the process and collected 10-15 thousand Taka, per meter, from the applicants.

At that time, an electricity connection was issued by the Palli Bidyut Samity for Abdul Matin but as he could not pay the bribes, the brokers—along with some samity officials—replaced his authorized photo with his neighbor Shafiqul's.

Therefore, the connection was made to Shafiqul's house. And, as he did not pay his dues for 17 months, Additional General Manager of Comilla Palli Bidyut Samity 1, Lakkhan Chandra Paal filed a case against Abdul Matin with the Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board.

Acting on the case, Sub Inspector (SI) of Muradnagar Police Station, Comilla arrested Abdul Matin and later sent him to Comilla Central Jail.