The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Wednesday filed a case against four people, including Laxmipur-2 Member of Parliament, Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul, and his wife who is also a lawmaker from reserve seats, on charges of money laundering and amassing illegal wealth.
The anti-graft watchdog is also investigating allegations of corruption against 11 other current MPs. There are also 10 former lawmakers in the ACC's investigation list.
ACC Commissioner (Investigation), Md Mozammel Haque Khan confirmed the case against Papul's family.
He said that Papul, his wife, Selina Islam; their daughter, Wafa Islam; Papul's sister-in-law, Jesmin Akhter, were accused of conducting illegal transactions worth Tk148 crore and concealing information about properties worth around Tk2.31 crore.
According to the case statement, though 23-year-old Jesmin has no source of income of her own, the ACC has found illegal assets worth Tk2.31 crore. Hiding behind companies that existed on paper alone, Jesmin Pradhan's five bank accounts were used to launder Tk148 crore between 2012 and 2020.
According to the ACC, Shahid Islam Papul used the bank accounts to transfer and launder illegal assets accumulated by his family.
MP Papul is currently behind bars in Kuwait, and an ACC investigation is currently underway on the lawmaker couple's accumulation of wealth beyond known sources of income.
Meanwhile, the ACC is inquiring nine more lawmakers for embezzling public funds, grabbing khas land, taking bribes, acquiring illegal assets through various corrupt schemes, including commissions and extortion.
Papul's family members are not out of the ACC radar, said ACC Commissioner Mozammel, adding that they would be prosecuted if they failed to demonstrate their sources of income.
Five MPs attracted public limelight amid the anti-casino raids in September 2019. Subsequently, the ACC's intelligence team also received information about their huge assets.
The Commission later decided to look into the assets of ruling party whip, Shamsul Hoque Chowdhury of Chattogram; Sunamganj-1 MP, Mouazzam Hossain Ratan; Narayanganj-2 MP, Md Nazrul Islam Babu; Bhola-3 MP, Nurunnabi Chowdhury, and Barisal-4 MP, Pankaj Nath.
The ACC has recently launched another investigation against former State Minister for Industries and incumbent Rajshahi-1 MP, Omor Faruk Chowdhury.
Investigations are also underway to look into Mahfuzur Rahaman of Sandwip; Abdullah Al Islam Jakob of Bhola; Md Afzal Hossain of Kishoreganj; Md Atiur Rahman Atik of Sherpur, and Bikalpa Dhara politician, Mahi B Chowdhury.
Amongst former MPs, ACC investigations are currently underway on Awami League's BM Mozammel Haque; Kamrul Ashraf Khan Poton; Sirajul Islam Mollah; Shamsul Haque Bhuiyan; Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu of BNP; Asadul Habib Dulu; Md Shahjahan; Abdul Momin Talukder; Shahiduzzaman Beltu, and ABM Ruhul Amin Howlader of Jatiya Party.
Many were summoned to the ACC for questioning, while others were issued notices for asset statement submission. ACC has sent letters to several departments, including Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU); Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) and the National Savings Department seeking information about various individuals.
According to ACC sources, BFIU reported that huge assets had been found, not only in the names of some MPs, but also in the names of their wives and children. Their movable and immovable assets, along with their bank accounts, are now being scrutinized.
When asked why the probes against the ruling party MPs are taking so long, the ACC Commissioner Mozammel said that the investigations would be completed soon.
"Cases will be filed shortly against those individuals where we have found incriminating evidence. The ACC is never used for political purposes," he added.