Benazir’s family bought 4 apartments in Gulshan in one day

Benazir’s family bought 4 apartments in Gulshan in one day

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in its investigation has got information of more wealth in the name of the family members of former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Benazir Ahmed.

The ACC said another 276 bighas (91 acres) of land is registered in the name of Jeeshan Mirza, wife of Benazir Ahmed. Apart from this, the anti-graft watchdog found four apartments registered in the name of Benazir Ahmed’s wife and one of his daughters in the capital’s upscale Gulshan area.

The size of the four apartments is 9,192 sqf. The apartments were bought on the same day (5 March 2023) within six months of the retirement of Benazir Ahmed. The price of the four apartments in the upscale area was shown at only Tk 21.9 million.

Besides the land and flats, ACC found that the wife and children of Benazir Ahmed own shares of 19 establishments and three BO (beneficiary owners account for share market business) accounts and Tk 3 million savings certificates.

Following an appeal of the ACC, Ash Shams Jaglul Hossain, a senior special metropolitan judge of Dhaka, Sunday  ordered the seizure of the properties of the former IGP, his wife and their children from under 113 deeds, as well as four apartments in the capital’s Gulshan.

ACC deputy director Hafizul Islam, also investigation officer, filed a written plea with the court on behalf of the ACC.

Mahmud Hossain Jahangir, public prosecutor of the ACC represented the anti-graft body at the court. He told the court that information of a huge amount of wealth of Benazir and his family has been received as the ACC sent letters to different districts seeking information of his assets.

The ACC prosecutor further said if the assets are not freezed and seized those could be handed over to others.

Following the hearing, the court passed the seizure and freeze order. Earlier on 23 May, the same court ordered to seize ex-IGP Benazir and his family members’ 345 bighas (114 acres) of land under 83 deeds and freeze 33 accounts in various banks.

Prothom Alo tried to contact Benazir Ahmed for his statement on the orders but he did not respond to the call.

The ACC in its appeal to the court said that the assets were acquired illegally and the current owners have been trying to handover them to others.

621 bighas land

In two separate orders, the court asked to seize 621 bighas of land of Benazir and his family members. Of the land, Jeeshan Mirza, the wife of Benazir, owns 521 bighas. The remaining 100 bighas are owned by Benazir Ahmed, his three daughters - Farhin Rishta Binte Benazir, Tahsin Raisa Binte Benazir and Zara Zerin Binte Benazir and relative Abu Sayeed M Khaled.

Benazir’s wife Jeeshan Mirza owns the newly found 276 bighas land. The lands are in Satpar Dumuria Mauza of Madaripur. Those were purchased in 113 deeds at different times in 2021 and 2022. The deed value is shown as a total of Tk 102.2 million. As a result, the price of each decimal was Tk 11,500 on average. The deed value of previously found 345 bighas of land was shown to be a little more than Tk 161.5 million.

Benazir Ahmed was the IGP between 15 April 2020 and 30 September 2022. That means, the land bought in the name of his wife in Madaripur was during his service period as IGP.

There is no information of Jeeshan Mirza being involved in any job when Benazir was serving in the police force. However, in a recent video message following the allegations of corruption raised against the former IGP, Benazir Ahmed claimed that his wife and children have a fish farming business.

Four apartments ‘at a cheaper rate’

Three of the four apartments in Gulshan is in the name of Benazir’s wife Jeeshan Mirza and the fourth one is in the name of his younger daughter (she was a minor at the time the apartment was bought, the ACC said in its plea to the court.

Two of the flats are 2,353 sqf in size each while the other two are 2,243 sqf each and their price is Tk 5.3 million. That means, the apartments at Rancon Icon Tower were bought at a rate of Tk 2,383 sqf.

The housing businesspersons said it was not possible to buy flats in any area of Dhaka at this rate, let alone Gulshan, an upscale area.

Quoting global research firm, Research Intelligence Unit (RIU), Real Estate & Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) last year told the media that the apartments are costliest in Gulshan, with US $166 (currently Tk 19,422) per sqf.

Seizure of company shares

The court ordered seizure of assets of Savanna Natural Park, Savanna Eco Resort, and Ekti Shishir Bindu, owned by Benazir and his family members.

The court also ordered seizure of the shares of Benazir and his family members at 15 more establishments. Those are – North Chicks Rangpur, Northern Business Associate, St Peter’s School of London, Stealth Industries, Bangla Tea Manufacturing Industry, Delta Artisan, East Valley Dairy, Green Multimedia, Community Bank, Community Bank Investment, Centre for Security and Law Enforcement Research Foundation, Police Trust Industrial Product, Police Trust Service and Entertainment, Police Trust Construction and Development and Southern Business Initiative.-Prothom Alo