DHAKA, April 16 (BSS) - Railway Minister Suranjit Sengupta today announced his resignation as investigations were underway into the last week's midnight cash scandal.
"I am resigning for the sake of impartial investigations . .
. to consolidate the democratic process," he told a crowded press
conference at Railway Bhaban amid wide speculations since the
scandal dominated the political centre stage of the country.
Sengupta, a veteran parliamentarian and senior leader of the
ruling Awami League, said he was resigning to set an example in
the "country's 40 years of history" accepting "the blames of
failures (in preventing the corruption) in my shoulder" but
reiterated his claim that he was not personally linked to the
"The government or the party (Awami League) is not
responsible for the failure, it's mine," he said during the 12-
minute press conference when he read out a written statement.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed to his decision
as he conveyed his willingness to quit the cabinet last night
less than four and half months he was sworn in as the minister.
Sengupta said that he would not speak to the media until the
primary investigation was completed while also declined to reply
to any question from the journalists.
"I hope the investigations will be completed within soonest
possible time . . . this will unearth everything," he said.
The development came a week after law enforcement agencies
detained one of Sengupta's official aides and the two railway
officials were going to his residence along with a said amount of
Taka 70,00,000 with no known source of origin on Monday midnight.
Their car driver suddenly pulled the vehicle over to the
high security Border Guard Bangladesh's (BGB) Pilkhana
headquarters and the told the border guards that there was
stashes of bribe money inside the car.
The border guards, however, freed them along with the amount
next morning after overnight grilling but the incident sparked a
nationwide sensation exposing the government to embarrassment and
prompting main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and
civil society groups to demand his resignation.
"I have resigned giving the countrymen and the civil society
a sense of relief," Sengupta said.
Sengupta announced his resignation just a day after he told
newsmen that he fired his assistant private secretary (APS) and
ordered suspension of two railway officials and the department's
ongoing recruitment process as investigations were underway into
Speaking at an unscheduled press briefing at his office, for
the second time in three days yesterday, Sengupta also hinted
about his possible resignation.
"I told you earlier, it is not a big thing for a politician
to earn a position and it is also to quit it," he told newsmen
Sengupta yesterday said he fired his APS Omar Faruq while
the ministry suspended railway general manager Yusuf Ali Mridha
and divisional commandant of its security force Enamul Huq on the
basis of their statements before an investigation committee.
Sengupta said the trio would face departmental and judicial
cases to be filed under the Government Servants (Discipline and
Appeal) Rules 1985 while officials familiar with the situation
said Mridha and Haque were asked not leave Dhaka until further
The development came hours after Mridha and Haque appeared
before an investigation committee of the ministry as summoned for
their statements while Faruq apparently preferred to ignore the
summon as he did not appear for the committee headed by a joint
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank officials said they were set to
issue a directive asking all commercial banks to freeze Faruq's
bank accounts and examine the accounts of the two others.
In a related development Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)
said it launched an investigation into the Monday night's scandal
and the alleged "recruitment trade" in the railway ministry.