Police in an intelligence report said they have found massive corruptions and irregularities in madrasas run by Hefazat-e-Islam bigwigs, and hinted that legal actions would be taken against the Islamist leaders after further investigation.
The report elaborates how the late Khelafat-e-Majlish Ameer Shaikhul Hadith Azizul Haque "took control" of the Jamia Rahmania Arabia Madrasa during the tenure of BNP-led four-party alliance.
After a long legal battle, the court appointed a magistrate and ordered returning the madrasa to the previous management board. But, Azizul Haque's son and the current joint secretary general of Hefazat Mamunul Haque – who is currently in police custody – stalled the handover, said the report.
The intelligence report says Hefazat leaders including Mamunul turned the madrasa into a den of nepotism and a hub of irregularities by occupying it. There is a huge mismatch between the income and expenditure of the madrasa.
Hefazat's top leaders also control six major madrasas in the capital, including Jatrabari, Baridhara, and Old Dhaka. According to the investigators, most of the madrasas under the control of Hefazat leaders do not have accurate calculations of income and expenditure.
On top of this, there is no proper record about the grants the madrasas received from various Middle Eastern countries. With illegal utility connections, the madrasas have been using power, gas and water supply without paying any bill.
Police say there are around 20,000 Qawmi Madrasah in Bangladesh with 50 lakh students. Al-Haiatul Ulya Lil-Jamiatil Qawmia Bangladesh is the government recognised apex Qawmi Madrasa Education Institute with six Qawmi Madrsa Education Boards.
But according to the intelligence report, Hefazat leaders have been running most of the Qawmi Madrasas bypassing the education boards.
In condition of anonymity, a police official who is involved in the investigation said legal actions would be taken on charge of corruption against the madrasa management committees.
With a 13-point charter of demands, Islamic advocacy group of madrassah teachers and students Hefazat-e-Islam came to the spotlight in 2013. In that year, they made the headline with the Motijheel Shapla Chattar mayhem.
In November 2020, Hefazat top leader Mamunul Haque demanded that the government remove the upcoming statue of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, claiming that statues were haram (forbidden) in Islam.
In March this year, the Hefazat bigwig and his party colleagues led a series of protests against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Dhaka visit, which sparked sporadic violence in parts of Bangladesh and left more than a dozen dead.
Police filed at least 77 cases over the violence during anti-Modi protests and 470 Hefazat men have been arrested across the country so far.
The arrestees include ten Hefazar central leaders including Mamunul, Mufti Sharif Ullah, Sakhawat Hossain, Mufti Sharifullah, Korban Ali Kashemi, Azizul Haque Islamabadi, Jonaid Al Habib and Mufti Fakrul Islam.
Law enforcers are also interrogating several Hefazat leaders in remand.
Police claimed to glean vital information from Mamunul during interrogation Wednesday, the second day of the seven-day remand. Besides, raids are going on to arrest the Hefazat men who instigated country-wide sabotages.
As part of the ongoing drive, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested Hefazat assistant organizing secretary Maulana Ataullah Ameni from Dhaka's Mohammadpur on Tuesday night, said RAB Assistant Director (media wing) Imran Hossain.
According to law enforcers, Ataullah Ameni is one of the prime accused in the 2013 Motijheel Shapla Chattar mayhem cases.
Meanwhile, at a press conference organised by the Haqqani Alem Samaj at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity Wednesday, Mufti Ehsanul Haque Al Mozzaddedi said there was no scope for contract marriage in the country.
"Therefore, the scholars of the country will not accept the attempt of Hefazat leader Mamunul Haque to legitimise his immoral activities by misinterpreting Islam," he said referring to Mamunul's resort incident.
Earlier this month, Mamunul acquired a murky reputation after he was found with a woman – he said was his second wife – at a resort in Narayanganj's Sonargaon. The authorities later denied his statement.
In a written statement, Mozzaddedi said, "Bangladesh's religious scholar community is ashamed and shocked as Hefazat has been tarnishing the peaceful image of Islam. The religion does not support the damages done by Hefazat men on 25-28 March by setting fire to public and private offices."