Awami League leader revolts, may face action

Dhaka, April 23 (IANS) A senior leader of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League (AL) may face disciplinary action for alleging that many of his colleagues were “paid agents” of the army’s intelligence wing.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also AL chief, is expected to convene a meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee and issue a show-cause notice to Mohammed Abdul Jalil, The Daily Star newspaper said Thursday.

“Both the government and the Awami League top brass are aggrieved with Tuesday’s statements by AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil that there are many `paid DGFI (Director General of Field Intelligence) agents’ in the cabinet,” the report said.

A businessman-cum-politician and lawmaker, Jalil was the principal spokesman of the party when Hasina was jailed on corruption charges by the earlier army-backed caretaker government (2007-08).

Jalil too was jailed from where he is accused of having written a letter seeking “forgiveness” and release on health ground.

He did win his release and was sent to Singapore for treatment last year, but says that the letter was extorted from him and he signed under duress after being tortured for several days.

Jalil now says that the party’s top officials, some of them senior to even Hasina in terms of experience gained under the tutelage of her father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, cooperated with the authorities.

He named Tofael Ahmed, Abdur Razak, Amir Hossain Amu and Suranjit Sengupta, who have been with the party for four decades.

Jalil says that they “conspired” to build “Awami League minus Hasina”, as part of the caretaker government’s efforts to ‘cleanse’ the country’s political scene.

On her release last year-end, Hasina retained Jalil as a party general secretary, but gave him no work.

Party officials and those in the government have termed Jalil’s accusation as nothing but the expression of a “frustrated person”.

While Amu denied having cooperated with the erstwhile government, Sengupta said: “Abdul Jalil is my close friend. He is now disgruntled. So I’m not angry with him for his statements.”

Commerce Minister Col (retd) Faruk Khan said Jalil should name the DGFI agents if he knows them. It is nothing but a frustrated statement from a frustrated person, he added.