Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) on Sunday detained a driver of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) from the capital city's Turag area on charges of carrying an illegal firearm and trading in fake currency.
The detainee, Abdul Malek, 63, alias driver Malek, carried an illegal firearm to create panic among locals, Shafi Ullah Bulbul, commanding officer of RAB-1, told The Business Standard.
According to RAB intelligence, Malek is a third-grade employee of DGHS who joined a health project at Saver in 1982 as a driver. Later, he joined the transport pool of DGHS in 1986.
Malek is currently the designated driver for the current DGHS Director General (DG) Dr Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam and was also the designated driver for Professor Dr AKM Enayet Hossain, director general of Health Education Directorate.
Malek has multiple houses in the capital, 15 kathas of land at Savar, multiple cars and huge amounts of money in various banks.
Based on intelligence information, RAB detained him and seized a pistol, a magazine, five bullets, a laptop, a mobile handset and fake currency worth Tk1.50 crore from his possession.
"Two cases will be filed against him for carrying an illegal firearm and trading in fake currency," said Shafi Ullah Bulbul.
"There are great differences between his income and expenditure. Behind the front of driving a DGHS vehicle, he has been conducting illegal activities in the Turag area. Showing muscle power, he is also involved in extortion and land grabbing," reads a press release of RAB.
According to sources, the detainee has two wives. Malek has two 7-storey residential buildings in the name of his first wife Nargis Akter, on a six-katha land north of South Kamarpara Ramzan Market under Turag Police Station in Dhaka. Malek lives in a flat with his family at the third floor of one of those buildings and has rented out rest of the flats.
Malek also has a cattle farm called 'Emon Dairy Farm' at - Dakshin Kamarpara, 70, Rajabari holding - on about 15 kathas of land with about 50 dairy cows with calves, which is in the name of his daughter elder daughter Baby.
Using illegal means and reach inside the health department, Malek has also provided jobs to a lot of family members.
He has facilitated the employment of his daughter Nourin Sultana Bely, his brother Abdul Khaleq, nephew Abdul Hakim and close relative Kamal Pasha as office assistants at the Department of health. He also facilitated the employment of his elder daughter Baby's husband Ratan as canteen manager, nephew Sohel Shikari and his brother in law Mahbub as driver in the health department as well.
He has also formed an organization called Department of Health Drivers Association and has become the president of that organization. With the power of that position, he has established absolute dominance over the drivers of the health department. He has collected huge amount of money in the name of hiring, transferring and promoting drivers using that power.
The detainee also extorted huge sums of money in the name of transfer and promotion of various doctors and via recruitment of third and fourth-class employees as well.
Despite being a driver himself, he regularly uses a white Pajero jeep (vehicle no. Dhaka Metro Ga-13-2979) allotted for the DG for his personal use.
In addition to using the Pajero jeep allocated for the DG, Malek also uses two additional health department cars for personal purposes. A health department pickup truck (Dhaka Metro Tha-13-7001) is used to sell cow's milk from his farm and transport goods to the canteen run by his son-in-law.
Another DGHS microbus (Dhaka Metro - Cha - 53-6741) is used by Malek's other family members who are also working in the health department.
Due to the rampant corruption caused by Malek, anti-corruption commission (ACC) Deputy Director Md Shamsul Alam summoned him for interrogation on Tuesday on the charges of smuggling abroad crores of taka that he earned through syndication with the Department of Health and for gaining wealth outside of known income.