The Rapid Action Battalion's raid at Dhaka-7 lawmaker Haji Salim's residence and his son's subsequent arrest have given Agrani Bank a golden opportunity to reclaim its land illegally occupied by the lawmaker for more than five months.
Bank officials said in January this year, they shifted the bank's corporate branch from their old two-storey building in Old Dhaka's Chawkbazar area to the nearby Al-Falah Market for renovating the dilapidated building.
Later, in the first week of May, Haji Salim and his men grabbed the bank's 18.14 decimals of land by demolishing the building, the bank officials claimed.
Around five months later, on Monday night, the bank authorities got back their land's possession.
Talking to The Business Standard on Tuesday, Baishnab Das Mondal, the branch manager, said the lawmaker had been trying to grab the land since 2013.
"His [Salim] grabbing of our land began at that time. His cohorts finally demolished our heritage building and damaged the bank's volt and other documents. They erected a boundary wall, too," he added.
Land grabbing in Old Dhaka by the ruling party lawmaker is not a new thing, and the victims include a physically-challenged person and a freedom fighter, according to sources.
Haji Salim also feasted on the government land, mainly along the River Buriganga.
An official, who led the operation at Haji Salim's Chand Sarder Dadabari residence, told TBS that they found a diary where all information on the grabbed lands has been noted down.
The grabbing story did not stop here.
In 2016, the lawmaker and his family even allegedly grabbed a piece of land which was allotted for a school for speech-impaired children in Lalbagh.
Fazle Elahi, general secretary of the National Organisation for the Deaf and Speech-impaired, told TBS that the government approved 1 acre of land for the school.
"Haji Salim forcibly occupied that land. We had gone to many people but to no avail," he said.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) also accused Haji Salim of grabbing the embankment of the Buriganga several times.
Deputy Director Arif Uddin said on 19 May this year, a BIWTA mobile court arrested seven associates of the MP while they were filling the riverbank in Jauchar area of Keraniganj at midnight.
Later, the BIWTA had filed a case against them with Keraniganj Model Police Station.
Earlier on 19 January, the BIWTA demolished a building of Tiger Cement, owned by Haji Salim, constructed on the Buriganga embankment.
Meanwhile another victim named Sania Islam, a businessman from Old Dhaka, said her father, late Shamsul Haque, bought 7.5 kathas of land in Nawabpur in 1996. But since 2013, Haji Salim has been claiming this land to be registered under his mother-in-law Delwara Begum through fake documents.
Sania said her father had signed a contract with a construction company to build a multi-storey building on the land before he died on 31 October, 2013.
But Haji Salim suddenly claimed that the land and the under-construction building belong to him, showing forged documents.
"We are helpless orphans," said Sania. "You know what kind of a person Haji Salim is."
In this situation, she sought the intervention of the government to protect her family and property.
Several sources from police and RAB also claimed that the lawmaker allegedly grabbed at least 50 residences in the last 25 years.
Haji Salim could not be reached despite several attempts on the phone.