A ‘land broker’ on Monday filed a case against Ramon Magsaysay Award-winning physician and freedom fighter Zafrullah Chowdhury and three of his colleagues accusing them of theft, extortion and intimidation over a land dispute at Ashulia, on the outskirts of the capital.
The case was filed after the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police had launched an investigation into an allegation of sedition against Gonoshasthaya Kendra trustee Zafrullah, 85, for his remarks about army chief General Aziz Ahmed in a television talk show on October 9.
Major M Rakibul Alam of the army headquarters filed a general diary against Zafrullah Chowdhury on October 12.
Ashulia police station officer-in-charge Rezaul Huq Dipu told New Age on Tuesday that land broker Muhammad Ali had a dispute with Zafrullah over a land purchase.
In the case, the complainant brought allegations of theft, extortion, causing damage to property, trespass and intimidation.
‘He had filed at least 20 general diaries against the physician since 2003,’ said the police officer, adding, ‘many cases are in the process as I have received a lot of calls from different people willing to file case against him [Zafrullah].’
Muhammad Ali alleged that he went near to the Gonoshasthaya Kendra at Ashulia and came under attack instructed by Zafrullah.
The complaint named Delwar Hossain, 57, Saifu Islam Shishir, 55, and Awlad Hossain, 48, and four others for the attack.
In the first information report, the land broker claimed that the accused had demanded Tk 1 crore in extortion from him and damaged his property besides the Gonoshasthaya Kendra.
The complaint read that the accused also attacked Muhammad Ali’s properties and cause damages of Tk 5 lakh and took away three signboards and a gate of Tk 3.5 lakh from his land.
According to the police, the complainant had filed a general diary on October 13 with Ashulia police station.
Muhammad Ali told New Age that he had filed a number of general diaries against Gonoshasthaya Kendra in the past.
‘Zafrullah wanted to buy my lands on the cheap for building a cancer institute and hospital. But, I do not want to sell the lands to him and then I started receiving threats,’ said Muhammad Ali.
Asked why and when the latest incident happened, he stopped talking and saw the complaint and continued saying that the attack on him took place ‘at about 10:00am on October 11’.
In the complaint, he mentioned that the incident took place on October 14.
Asked about evidence of extortion, Muhammad Ali replied that he along with his friend Anisur Rahman went to his lands beside the Gonoshasthaya Kendra where ‘I was insulted and my car was hit’.
‘My friend is a witness,’ said Muhammad Ali, who identified himself as a contractor and businessman.
Gonoshasthaya Kendra, a charitable trust, is a pioneer in building health care in Bangladesh, started its first experimental pilot project in the area in April 1972, and continued.
Asked about the allegation, Zafrullah said that Muhammad Ali was a land broker and Gonoshasthaya Kendra engaged him to purchase lands and he failed to make it.
‘We recently won a legal battle against him and then he went mad,’ he said.
The country’s highest civilian award winning physician said that he already corrected the mistake he had made about the army chief but ‘try to get information about the land broker to know what kind of person he is.’
At a press conference on October 13, Zafrullah Chowdhury offered apology to the chief of army staff for his mistaken choice of words while giving information about General Aziz in the television talk show.
The Inter Services Public Relations in a statement on Monday once again criticised Zafrullah Chowdhury branding his remarks in the talk show and a subsequent news conference as ‘irresponsible, ill-motivated and false’.
Zafrullah Chowdhury has been campaigning for free and fair election for long.
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