The recruitment of police constables in Narayanganj through massive fraud and possible bribery is an unforgivable and heinous crime, which risks intensifying the crisis of confidence in the law enforcement agencies.
The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has called for an impartial, fair and thorough investigation into all those involved, including high-ranking officials, in this heinous crime that occurred two years ago.
According to a recent investigation published in the media, evidence has been found against at least 18 constables recruited to the Narayanganj Police in the district quota in 2019 by submitting fake and forged documents, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said in a press release on Sunday.
According to media sources, there has been widespread irregularities and forgery in the verification and selection of documents and the police verification report, which came to light in an investigation at the police headquarters in 2020, he added.
He further said even five different people have submitted land deeds with the same registration number as proof of being a local. At least 11 people have submitted land deeds registered in the same mouja, daag and khatian with the same CS, SA and RS numbers 23 days after the publication of the recruitment notice, which is totally "impossible and unbelievable"!
"However, the authorities in charge of verification and selection have completely avoided the matter or given a positive report in secret, which is not possible without the direct involvement of the higher authorities," said Dr Zaman.
As per a report in the media, at least two sub-inspectors in charge of screening reported the matter to the then top district police officer who had directed them to submit a positive report considering the "humanitarian aspect", which is condemnable.
He said, "Even after submitting fake and forged documents in the police service, there is no moral or legal basis and opportunity for recruitment on 'humanitarian ground'. Therefore, it has been claimed that the police superintendent concerned gave such instructions for a certain purpose which needs to be addressed immediately through an impartial and independent investigation."
At the same time, it has to be ascertained whether there was any illegal money transaction in these appointments. It is questionable and unacceptable to try to prove oneself innocent by blaming subordinate officers by the higher office concerned, he added.
In this context, the TIB considers the pledge made by the present inspector general of police on 14 September – no one will be spared if any allegation of corruption is proved against a policeman – is very significant.
The published incident can be seen as evidence of widespread "so-called rumours" of irregularities and corruption in recruitment in the law enforcement agencies. Irregularities, corruption and fraud in the recruitment of law enforcement agencies have been heard for a long time, but in most cases, it is not acknowledged, he said.
So it would not be an exaggeration to say that this incident in Narayanganj is "just the tip of the iceberg". Unless a fair and impartial investigation into the incident is conducted and exemplary punishment for those responsible is ensured, it will not be possible to prevent a reckless recurrence of such irregularities in the future. Moreover, the perpetrators will become more daring, further undermining public confidence in law enforcement, said TIB executive director.