A senior member of Bangladesh Squash Rackets Federation executive committee raised an allegation of embezzling about Tk 47 lakh against federation secretary Jahangir Hamid Sohel with the help of a National Sports Council official.
‘He [Sohel] confessed before the executive meeting that he bribed Tk 1.5 lakh to NSC audit officer Taizul Islam to make an adjustment in expenditures,’ federation’s member Hedaetullah Turkee told New Age.
Turkee informed that the last EC meeting was held at federation president Lieutenant colonel (retd) Faruk Khan’s residence in September last year, where vice-president Rashed Chowdhury, joint-secretary Anisul Haque Hony were also present among others.
According to Turkee, the NSC provided Tk four lakh in each fiscal year from 2015 to 2019 for federation’s office management cost, Tk 10 lakh for internal games in 2018-2019, Tk 12 lakh for grassroots level training and development in 2017 and Tk five lakh for Youth Games in 2018.
He also claimed that the secretary rarely opened the gate of the federation.
The last time Sohel opened the gate of the federation office was on August 8, 2015 when president Faruk Khan called an executive committee meeting and since then he did not give any explanation where and how he spent the money.
NSC audit officer Taizul denied the allegation brought against him.
‘He [Turkee] made a false allegation against me. We are here to support different federations, I don’t know why he said it to you,’ said Taizul.
Taizul also claimed that Turkee gave wrong information about the amount of money used in each year.
‘The amount never was never Tk four lakh for each year. We provided Tk 3.31 lakh for 2019-20 fiscal year and Tk 3.15 lakh in 2018-2019,’ said Taizul.
The NSC official also informed that the federation only drew Tk five lakh from their fund of Tk 10 lakh for internal games in the 2019-20 fiscal year.
Earlier on September 5, the NSC formed a one-man probe committee in response to Turkee-led group’s demand, following his series of allegations against Sohel at a press conference.
The head of the probe body, Shah Alam Sardar, director planning and development of NSC, said they called bickering parties twice on December 18, 2019 and another on January 2, 2020.
Accuser Turkee responded to the first call while secretary Sohel skipped the meeting, said Shah Alam. ‘Before the second meeting I was informed that the federation secretary was sick,’ he said.
Federation secretary also denied the allegations brought against him.
‘He [Turkee] has become mad. I just cannot believe what he said to you. I am in hospital since December 15. I will appear before the NSC probe committee after being released from the hospital,’ Sohel said.
Sohel, son of acclaimed chess player Rani Hamin and the younger brother of former footballer Kaiser Hamid, is the secretary of Bangladesh Squash Rackets Federation since 2008.
Squash is not a popular sport in Bangladesh and do not have much international achievements after the federation’s inception.
Bangladesh’s best achievements in squash are bronze medals in the 2010 and 2016 South Asian Games.
The four-member Bangladesh squash team failed to win any medal in the 13th SA Games in Nepal last year as they were eliminated from the quarter-final stage.
The four players also took part in an invitational tournament in China in March 2019 where Bangladesh’s best player Mohammad Sumon lost to China’s 138th ranked player by 3-0 sets.
Former player Bhola Lal Chouhan holds the national record of 17 consecutive titles before his retirement in 1997-98, followed by Shwpaon Parvez, who bagged 13 titles in a row.
There was no national tournament held for the last five years but organiser said that the federation organised Victory Day tournaments twice in 2016 and in 2018 in the last five years. No age-level tournament was held in this period.
Bangladesh has currently about 20 players, who play in different clubs and Army teams. Most of them are senior club officials.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Miscellany