MP Haji Selim takes back control of land claimed by Agrani Bank

  • Kazi Mobarak Hossain, Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-11-23 00:37:36 BdST

Agrani Bank recovered a piece of land from the grip of MP Haji Mohammad Selim in Old Dhaka around a month ago when the lawmaker fell in trouble following the arrest of his son Erfan Selim.

The employees of the state-owned bank’s Moulvibazar branch in Old Dhaka are in fear of repercussion now after the Awami League leader took back control of the property again.

They are not trying to recover the land again because they want to avoid clash, says Baishnab Das Mondal, an assistant general manager in charge of the branch.

Haji Selim could not be reached for comments, but his lawyer claimed the MP bought the land and registered it in the name of his wife Gulshanara Begum.

The first branch of the bank in independent Bangladesh that was inaugurated by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was situated on the disputed 20 decimal land.

Selim, the Dhaka-7 MP, took its control in 2003, though a legal battle over its ownership is still ongoing.

His son Erfan was jailed for a year for illegal possession of walkie-talkies and liquor on Oct 26 after he was arrested over the assault of a naval officer.

Some days later, Baishnab and his men took back the control of the land and tore down the old building on it. They also raised boundary walls and brought construction materials.

On Sunday, the construction materials were not on the site. A signboard with the claim of Gulshanara’s ownership has been put again.

Locals said Haji Selim took control of the land and put guards to prevent the employees of the bank from recovering the land again.

“We have been hearing for long that this land belongs to the Agrani Bank branch. Now we hear that it belongs to the Haji. People from the bank took control of the land some days ago. Now Haji Selim’s people have put up a signboard,” said Rabiul Isam, a local businessman.

“We are feeling insecure. We are even afraid of moving alone,” an official of the bank said, adding that they filed a general diary at Chawkbazar Police Station and informed the RAB about the latest developments.

“There will be clashes if we try to recover the land now. So we have sought the help of the law enforcement. We haven't had a response yet,” said Baishnab.

The in-charge of the branch said he would follow instructions from the high-ups on the next course of action.

The land housed a branch of Pakistan’s Habib Bank before independence and Agrani Bank became the owner after the Liberation War, according to him.

“Some people suddenly claimed ownership of the land after making some documents in 2003. We had to leave the land when they sent us a notice,” Baishnab said.

The Agrani Bank later started a case over the ownership of the land. The court is yet to give a ruling on the bank’s petition seeking a stay on taking control of the land.

Pran Nath Debnath, the lawyer for Selim and Gulshanara, said the Habib Bank had rented the land from an individual and Selim bought it for Gulshanara from the heirs of the owner after his death.