Cartoons of corrupted Bangladesh minister on front pages

 

Thursday was in no way designated for any local, national or international event relating to satirical cartoon.  

But  in  a unique coincidence  in  Bangladesh media, six  major  national  dailies on April 13  preferred  to  publish  front page  cartoons  on  Railway Minister  Suranjit  Sen Gupta   along side with reports,  editorial  and   comments  about  the  recovery  of  huge  corruption money  from  the  car  of  his  assistant private secretary (APS).

The veteran  politician  after  assuming  the  position of Railway Minister  few months  ago, hit  the newspaper headlines  by  saying that  he  would  catch  the  corrupt elements symbolizing  them as “a black cat”  in  railway department.
 
The much  vocal  Suranjit  has  turned pale under  the  volley of criticism from various quarters calling  for his  resignation following  the seizure of Tk 70 lakh (about  90,000 US dollars) from the car of  his APS around 11:30pm Monday.

With Suranjit’s APS  Omar Faruq Talukder, Railway’s General Manager (East) Yusuf Ali Mridha and Divisional Commandant Enamul Huq on board, driver Ali Azam of Faruq’s car drove the vehicle into the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) headquarters, on  way to Ministers Jogatola house,  in the capital and exposed the bribe money. The border guards discovered the money in the car and detained the four.

The BGB personnel sought police help but police refused to take the responsibility, saying there was no case filed against them. Faruq, Yusuf and Enamul were eventually released but the driver is said to be still in BGB custody.

Meanwhile, the opposition BNP demanded the minister’s resignation while the parliamentary standing committee launched a probe into the ministry’s handling of tenders over the last three years.

As the critical public reactions spread quickly against the minister, the Anti-Corruption Commission announced on Tuesday that it would launch a probe into the minister’s alleged involvement in the incident.

Highly embarrassed by the incident, the ruling party leaders are now waiting for the prime minister to return from Turkey and tell them what to do about the scandal.

Suranjit, clearly on the back foot, termed the incident unwarranted adding, “In a country like ours, this kind of incidents has happened before. This incident has created problems for me. I will face it.”

Bribe from job seekers

Sources in the railway said ruling party people in the leadership of railway emplyees, ministers, lawmakers, and a section of corrupt railway officials were taking bribes from job seekers. The railway ministry recently started recruitment of 7,500 people.

According, railway officials Tk 2 lakh to 5 lakh was collected from each job-seekers assuring job in railway. 

Opposition  member  of the parliament (MP) Rehana Akhter Ranu, who is also a member of the parliamentary standing committee on railway Minister, demanded that the government constitute a judicial probe body to investigate the source and destination of the money found in APS possessnion. She said Suranjit must resign for the sake of an impartial investigation.
 
“We believe the minister’s APS and a general manager of railway were taking the money to him [Suranjit], which was bribe in exchange for jobs in the ministry.” Rehana Akhter MP said,

Awami League Deputy Office Secretary Mrinal Kanti Das, however, said there might be a conspiracy behind the incident. It could have been staged to disgrace the government.

But  newspaper readers’ comments and public reactions suggest that Suranjit Sengupta should  take full responsibility of the incident and resign when someone so close to him and other high-ranking railway officers are involved in such a  high sounding  bribery scam.

“Even a grade 4 student would realize and understand that you cannot investigate against yourself. Sengupta must resign and independent and credible investigation must be conducted. If we failed to set standards here we have very little chance to get out of the number one corrupt nation” commented an online reader.

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