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>filthy means to riches

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> HE has 15 industries, 13 flats, 29 vehicles, a five-storey building, a one-storey house, a farmhouse and 45 acres of land and a balance of Tk 18.53 crore.
The story of former Titas Gas sales assistant Abdul Kader Mollah would probably beat all incidents so far known about amassing wealth through illegal means. Believe it or not, as an employee drawing only Tk 4,000 in salary when at career’s peak, Mollah accumulated wealth worth over Tk 2,100 crore.
The startling story was unfolded as a special taskforce of National Coordination Committee (NCC) against Corruption and Serious Crimes started digging into institutional crimes at Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Co Ltd recently.
People have heard about meter readers turning millionaires, but Mollah’s story is another testimony to serious corrupt practices at government institutions, especially Titas Gas, Wasa, Rajuk, BTTB and PDB.
In his wealth statement, Mollah, whose name is on the list of corruption suspects, told the NCC taskforce of having wealth worth Tk 208 crore. But according to the taskforce, it would not be less than Tk 2,100 crore.
Kader Mollah even boasts about his business acumen: “Do you think I have stolen this money? This money comes from my business,” he told reporters.
Kader Mollah joined Titas Gas as an ordinary employee in 1985 and retired voluntarily after 12 years as a sales assistant. During his service at Titas, he developed good relationship with a BNP-backed CBA (collective bargaining agent) leader and ended up as a close aide to him.Although Mollah was a sales assistant, his colleagues said he used to work as a supervisor using his influence.
Through his connections with dishonest officials, Mollah built close contacts with many industries. He used to provide these industries with illegal gas connections and played a role in reducing their gas bills, thus earning huge money in return.Much of his income at the time would also come from controlling transfers and postings of Titas staffs, said sources.
With money pouring in, Mollah dreamt of setting up industries.Mollah’s former colleagues said none of his industries came under the enquiries conducted by Titas during the whole tenure of the BNP-led four-party alliance government.
After his voluntary retirement in 1997, Mollah was mostly involved with commercial activities of Titas directly and indirectly, said sources.
Hailing from Panchkandi of Narsingdi, Mollah has a three-storey house at Tinishpur in Narsingdi town. He plans to build a swimming pool on the third floor of his house near the municipal stadium.
(Read The Daily Star report)


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