Prothom Alo editor sued in Tk 1bn libel suit for ‘defaming’ ex-minister MK Alamgir

  • Chandpur Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-09-06 22:06:37 BdST

মতিউর রহমান (ফাইল ছবি)

A lawyer has started a libel suit against Matiur Rahman, the editor of the Prothom Alo, and three other journalists of the Bangla-language daily over two reports on former home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir.

Plaintiff Md Helal Uddin, a former vice-chairman of Kachua Upazila, brought the charges under sections 500, 501, 502 and 34 of the Bangladesh Penal Code.

Chandpur Senior Judicial Magistrate Md Kamal Hossain has admitted the lawsuit and ordered the police to investigate the charges, Helal said on Sunday.

The three others accused in the defamation suit are Sharifuzzaman Pintu, the assistant editor of the daily, its Senior Correspondent Iftekhar Mshmud, and Gazipur Correspondent Masud Rana.

The Prothom Alo carried a report on Jul 30 headlined “City Medical College Hospital running without permission”, and another titled “Mohiuddin skimmed off others’ loans to buy hospital” on Sep 4.

“The 500-bed City Medical College Hospital in Gazipur, owned by Awami League member of parliament and former home minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, has been running for the past six years without any legal approval and without the minimum facilities for medical treatment,” the first report said.

“A number of companies took loans from Farmers’ Bank, now renamed as Padma Bank, and part of those loans were skimmed off and used to purchase the City Medical College Hospital in Gazipur,” the second report read.

“Former home minister and presently member of parliament, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, was the chairman of the bank at the time. He is also the owner of the City Medical College Hospital.

“This hospital, located at the Chandana intersection in Gazipur, was bought for around Tk 250 million (Tk 25 crore). Of this, Tk 83,375,000 (Tk 8 crore 33 lakh 75 thousand) came from the accounts of three Farmers’ Bank borrowers,” it said.

“These three companies with accounts at the bank’s Gulshan branch were Atlas Greenpac Limited, Creative Fashion and Ayesha Enterprise. Along with the principal amount and interest, they owe Farmers' Bank, now Padma Bank, over Tk 1.15 billion (Tk 115 crore). There is little likelihood of the loan being recovered,” the report added.

Helal alleged in the lawsuit that both reports contained “false, fake, imaginary, unreal and defamatory news without any information”.

Alamgir has no share in City Medical College Hospital but he advises the organisation but us not salaried, according to the case dossier.

The case demanded Tk 1 billion in damages from the accused, claiming the “false and defamatory” reports immensely belittled Alamgir.

Helal said he got aggrieved after seeing the reports and initiated the suit on behalf of Alamgir on his permission.

“I hope the truth will come out in the investigation and we will get justice,” he added.