Bangladesh arrests former ministers

Army-led forces arrested two former ministers on Tuesday as Bangladesh's emergency government stepped up a crackdown on corruption, police and family members said.

Bangladesh arrests former ministers
Army-led forces arrested two former ministers on Tuesday as Bangladesh's emergency government stepped up a crackdown on corruption, police and family members said.

Altaf Hossain Chowdhury, a commerce minister in the 2001-2006 Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) government, was arrested at his house, police officer Moinul Islam said.

Sheikh Selim, former health minister from 1996-2001 and a cousin of Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed, was also picked up from his home by troops, said family member Sheikh Anisur Rahman.

Other high-profile figures who were arrested included Abdul Awal Mintoo -- a BNP-linked top businessman who headed the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry twice -- and the mayor of Barisal, Mojibur Rahman Sarwar, police said.

Sarwar, a front-ranking leader of the BNP and former member of parliament, has been widely accused of corruption and abuse of power as the mayor of southern Bangladesh's biggest city.

The mayor of the northeastern city of Sylhet, Badruddin Ahmed Kamran, was also taken into custody just two weeks after being freed on bail in a corruption case, police said.

Kamran is also the city's leader of the Awami League, one of the country's two main political parties.

The arrests were part of a series of raids at the residences of top politicians, including at least five former BNP ministers, local CSB television reported. None of the five were arrested.

The raids came a day after police detained three top politicians including former home minister Lutfuzzaman Babar and Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil.

The government, which came to power in January after the president imposed a state of emergency and cancelled polls, has vowed to clean up politics before elections are held in late 2008.

Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed called Monday on the government to free Jalil, lift a ban on political activity and hold elections.

"The government has targeted politicians, not corruption. Otherwise, it would not have arrested clean politicians like Jalil," she said.

More than 60 top politicians including the elder son of former prime minister and BNP leader Khaleda Zia have been arrested since February.

At least three politicians, including Zia's political secretary, have been jailed for three years each by fast-track special courts.
Last Mod: 29 Mayıs 2007, 12:20
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