This is part of a recording of an alleged conversation between Pabna University of Science & Technology Vice-Chancellor Dr M Rustom Ali and job candidate Monirul Islam
A voice on record says, "What do you want?" Reeking of desperation, another voice answers, "Please return my money sir." The first voice becomes intimidating, "I have records on my mobile phone."
Refusing to be intimidated any longer, the second voice says, "I too have records. I visited you at a rest house four times and I recorded everything. You took Tk8 lakh from me, but did not give me the job because I could not pay an additional Tk4 lakh.
"Do not threaten me with action from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence, just return my money. I sold my father's land for that money."
The intimidation continues, "Get your money from the person you gave it to. You did not give me any money."
"I gave you the money, sir. The money I collected from selling my father's land. Please return my money," says the second voice and then the recording stops.
This is part of a recording of an alleged conversation between Pabna University of Science & Technology Vice-Chancellor Dr M Rustom Ali and job candidate Monirul Islam.
After the audio clip went viral in various social media platforms on Thursday afternoon, Dr Rustom found himself at the centre of a controversy over an allegation of taking Tk8 lakh bribe from a candidate seeking appointment in the history department.
Sources say that the candidate contacted Dr Rustom on mobile phone after not finding his name in the list of people who passed the recruitment examination.
In the recording of the call, the alleged vice-chancellor can be heard threatening the alleged job seeker with action from the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence and the Rapid Action Battalion.
After the audio clip went viral on social media, Dr Rustom stated that no candidates passed the oral exam. He also firmly denied any allegation of taking bribes and termed the whole debacle a conspiracy.
Sources from the Pabna University of Science & Technology said the teacher recruitment exam was held for the history department of the university on October 24. A total of 28 candidates participated in the exam.
Following a written test, a list of candidates who passed the exam was published. The candidates are- Shibu Chandra Adhikari, Shariful Islam, Tanvir Ahmed, Razibul Islam, Salahuddin and Nurul Hamid. All six are graduates from the Rajshahi and Chittagong universities.
Monirul Islam, who graduated from the history department of Dhaka University claimed, "I met all of the mentioned criteria and applied for a teacher position at the Pabna University of Science & Technology.
"After the university suspended the recruitment exam in July this year, I got in touch with the Vice-Chancellor Dr Rustom through one of my senior associates. After meeting him twice, he asked me for Tk12 lakh as a bribe to get me the teacher position at the university."
He continued, "I paid the vice chancellor Tk5 lakh and Tk3 lakh in two phases at a rest house in Dhaka. I talked to him a day before the recruitment exam and he reiterated his promise to get me the teacher position.
"I became suspicious of the vice-chancellor after I noticed that several candidates got special benefits at the recruitment exam. The names of these candidates were later listed in the result."
Monirul added that when he asked for his money back from Dr Rustom, he threatened to have him detained by the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence and the Rapid Action Battalion.
Another candidate who took the written test, Noakhali Science and Technology University Lecturer Irin Akter said, "Ten candidates from Dhaka University including me took that recruitment exam, but none of us passed."
"The recruitment board is entirely comprised of teachers from Rajshahi and Chittagong universities. Shariful Islam, who passed the written test, is a relative of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Anwarul Islam of Pabna University of Science & Technology," she added.
Several candidates who took the recruitment examination complained that the university's Vice-Chancellor Dr Rustom Ali, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Anwarul Islam, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Dr Mohammad Habibullah and history department Chairman Shafiul Islam took large bribes from job seekers.
There are allegation that these people orchestrated a rigged recruitment examination and passed pre-selected candidates through an examination board comprised of loyal teachers. They are now reportedly trying to hide the now exposed irregularities by claiming that no candidate has passed the oral examination.
Responding to the allegation, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Dr Mohammad Habibullah said, "The recruitment board carried out the process in accordance with the existing regulations. Six people passed the written exam, but the board was not satisfied with any of the candidates after the oral exam.
"So, no candidate was selected for the teacher position."
Claiming that the allegations of bribery are false and ill motivated, Vice-Chancellor Dr Rustom said, "Some candidates are trying to raise controversies regarding the recruitment exam after failing to pass the test."
He admitted to talking on the phone and meeting with candidate Monirul several times before the recruitment exam, but denied taking any bribes from him.
"I met Monirul because he came to see me with a recommendation from an influential Awami League leader."
Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr Anwarul Islam could not be reached for comments on mobile phone despite several attempts.