November 9, 2023
DHAKA – When “Senuwara Begum” of Cox’s Bazar surrendered to a court and eventually landed in prison in connection with a narcotics case, there was no reason for suspicion.
However, when her fingerprints were taken in jail last month so that those could be matched with the records in the NID server, Senuwara turned out to be Monira Begum of Teknaf.
A probe found that Monira was trying to serve Senuwara Begum’s time for money.
The Chattogram Prison authorities identified around 12 more such incidents in the prison this year.
Among them, two are still behind bars while the rest are on bail, said the jail authorities.
Jail officials and court sources said with the help of a group of dishonest lawyers, the incidents are recurring.
In most incidents, poor people serve the time in someone else’s stead.
Tea vendor Mojibur Rahman of the port city’s Chandgaon area surrendered before a court in Chattogram in a case over cheque fraud.
He served time instead of the actual convict Nasir Ahmed, who gave him just Tk 3,000.
The jail authorities discovered this on March 13.
Public Prosecutor Nasir Akhter told journalists that Mojib is not the accused in the case, so the court acquitted him, but he was sued for fraud and perjury.
Mojib’s then lawyer Towhidur Islam told reporters that after learning about the fraudulence, he dropped his client.
Jail sources said Shahidul Islam instead of Md Yousuf of Banshkhali, Ariful Islam for Bogura’s Nazrul Islam, Rafiqul Islam for Shafiqul Howladar, Painpru Marma for Minu Marma, Khadiza Begum for Nasima Akhter, Kamal Hossen for Didarul Alam, Md Alam for Md Salam, Abu Nesar for Selim Uddin, Abdul Quader for Abdul Karim, Saif Uddin for Md Babul spent time in prison.
They said the inmates told them that they got between Tk 3,000 and Tk 15,000 to serve someone else’s time.
Jail officials said since January, the prison authority got access to the NID server which allowed them to identify such fraudulence.Chattogram Central Jail’s Superintendent Muhammad Manjur Hossain told The Daily Star, “We have a prisoner database where we store the details of prisoners, including fingerprints. Recently, we have been able to match our data with the NID server.”