Conmen out in guise of ACC officials

Blackmail people promising to give them clean chit over graft charges

Md Solamain Salman

7 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Fraudsters are now active in swindling people out of money in the names of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) officials, posing a new kind of challenge to the national anti-graft watchdog.

Introducing themselves as ACC officials, the scammers are extorting money from people with a promise to give them clean chits over corruption charges.

ACC sources said gangsters threaten people over phone, saying there was an inquiry into their wealth or other graft allegations which could land them in trouble.

They sometimes impersonate ACC commissioner, director general, director, deputy director or assistant director and con their targets out of money.

Sources at the ACC intelligence unit said they found that some of the gang members are also extorting money from people through lobbying in various offices after posing as relatives or close associates of ACC top officials and employees.

The national anti-graft body has received a number of such allegations in written and over its hotline 106. It has already arrested a number of fake ACC officials and taken legal action against them.

It has also issued several notices alerting people to the forgery.

The forgery gangs have long been active in swindling people out of money using the names and reputation of the ACC officials.

The swindlers are extorting money from people and graft suspects through mobile money transfer window bKash, promising them to give them clean chits over graft allegations.

 “These fraudsters sometimes call people over the phone and threaten to file corruption cases against them if they refuse to bribe them. But there’s no scope of any ACC official to give the clean chit to anyone or file a charge sheet against anyone as per his single decision,” ACC Director and Spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya told the Daily Sun.

“Cheating after posing as ACC officials is a serious offence. Whenever the commission receives such allegations, we take it seriously and take legal action instantly,” he said.

Mentioning that there is no provision in the ACC Act for an official to communicate with a suspect over the phone, the ACC official said, “We’ve asked our officials not to communicate with any of the graft suspects or accused whose allegations are under inquiry over the phone.”

“If any official needs to contact the accused, he/she has to serve a written notice to the address of the person against whom allegations are under inquiry,” Pranab added.

The ACC urged people to lodge complaints through ACC hotline 106 if anyone seeks money introducing himself/herself as ACC officials.     

It also called upon the victims to contact ACC Director (Intelligence) Mir Zainul Abedin Shebly over mobile phone 01711644675 and Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya over 01716463276.

On August 12, 2020, Md Mosabbir was arrested by an ACC team from the Bangabandhu Avenue branch of Agrani Bank in the capital.

Mosabbir, a member of a fraud group, demanded money from several pharmaceutical and other companies in the name of publishing advertisements after using the signature of ACC Commissioner AFM Aminul Islam in letters sent to the businesses.

On November 5, 2020, the ACC arrested a man, who introduced himself as the director general of the anti-graft body, from Tangail.

The arrestee was identified as Kamal Uddin. Introducing himself as ACC DG Zakir Hossain, Kamal made a call to the official telephone number of Tangail Additional Deputy Commissioner (Revenue) over a land-related issue.

On December 8, 2019, the ACC arrested two fraudsters -- Md Deen Islam and Nipa Begum -- from Keraniganj on the outskirts of the capital on charges of demanding money from a person.

Posing as ACC officials, the two arrestees demanded money from the person assuring him of exonerating him from a graft case.

Two fraudsters -- Anisur Rahman alias Babul and Yasin Talukdar -- were arrested from capital’s Hazaribagh area on February 1, 2019. They had been introducing themselves as senior ACC officials.

On January 24, 2019, an ACC team arrested a fake ACC official named Hasan Munna from Nayapaltan in the capital as he demanded money from a government official, introducing himself as the personal assistant of the ACC public relations officer.

Receiving an allegation from the ACC intelligence unit, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members on February 14, 2019 arrested another fake ACC official named Raju Mia from Siddhirganj of Narayanganj.

Earlier on November 7, 2018, the ACC intelligence unit caught Md Foyez Uddin from Hotel Rajdhani in Gulistan of the capital while he was taking bribe from a land official introducing himself as an ACC official.