Hotel Sarina built on CSE land, owned by Amir Khasru family

Published Date: 13-Jun-2024 | 06:35 PM

Allegations have surfaced against Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, former president of the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) and prominent BNP leader, involving fraudulent activities related to plot no. 27 on road no. 17 in Banani, Dhaka. What was originally intended as the site for the CSE Tower has now been developed into Hotel Sarina, allegedly due to unauthorized alterations made during Amir Khasru's tenure at the CSE. His wife, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law, Golam Sarwar, are also implicated in these accusations.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has filed a case against Amir Khasru Mahmud, his wife Tahera Khasru Alam, Golam Sarwar (chairman of Hotel Sarina), Sabera Sarwar (managing director), and RAJUK's building inspector Aurangazeb Nannu. ACC Deputy Director Selina Akhtar has cited violations of Penal Code sections 409, 109, 467, 468, 471, 420, and Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947.

Mohammad Akhtarul Islam from ACC's Public Relations Department confirmed ongoing investigations, noting that developments will be updated in due course.

Asif Ibrahim, current chairman of the CSE, clarified that the incident occurred before his tenure and affirmed cooperation with ACC's inquiries. Further details were referred to Director Emdadul Islam, who emphasized the ongoing scrutiny of irregularities surrounding plot no. 27 in Banani.

Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, currently abroad, denied the allegations via a media, attributing them to political motives and asserting his readiness to address them upon his return. Attempts to contact Golam Sarwar for comment were unsuccessful.

According to ACC statements, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and Tahera Khasru Alam were shareholders in Hotel Sarina Inn Ltd., which includes plots 27 and 25 on road no. 17 in Banani. They allegedly concealed their involvement in the hotel's affairs. Furthermore, they, along with Golam Sarwar, purportedly undertook unauthorized construction, expanding to 21 stories instead of the approved 15, and engaged in transactions contrary to CSE's directives.

The case highlights instances where decisions made during CSE board meetings were bypassed, allegedly to benefit personal interests. This includes appointing Golam Sarwar, Amir Khasru's brother-in-law, as developer, despite lacking formal board approval.

Following decisions made in the 74th and 75th board meetings of the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE), it was decided to engage developer Golam Sarwar on November 15, 1999, for plot no. 27 on road no. 17 in Dhaka's Banani commercial area, offering a basement and five floors.

Subsequently, on January 19, 2000, lease deed registration (No. 483 DVP) was completed between RAJUK and Waliul Maruf Matin, former CEO of CSE, for the same plot. However, these board meetings did not authorize any agreement with Golam Sarwar or his company, Sarina Inn, regarding this development.

Disregarding the board's decisions, an unregistered agreement was forged on February 13, 2000, between Golam Sarwar, managing director of Hotel Sarina Inn Limited, and Waliul Maruf Matin, granting development rights for the plot with a basement and four floors instead of the agreed five. A registered power of attorney (No. 6216) was later executed on May 23, 2000, giving Golam Sarwar extensive financial powers, including the ability to mortgage, without specifying the floor allocation or the board meeting authorizing his appointment as developer.

Hotel Sarina Inn Ltd. received its registration (No. 3517/99) from the Joint Stock and Companies on December 19, 1999, without any approval from CSE to act as developer for the plot. Waliul Maruf Matin, in his capacity as CEO, unlawfully entered into the developer appointment agreement with Golam Sarwar and Sabera Sarwar Nena, Amir Khasru's brother-in-law and sister-in-law respectively.

Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury and his wife, Tahera Khasru Alam, acquired 50% ownership of Hotel Sarina Inn on July 10, 2000, subsequently transferring their shares to Golam Sarwar and Sabera Sarwar Nena on April 20, 2001. They maintained ownership until January 10, 2010, including the Basati Tower.

After completing construction, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury operated Hotel Sarina as a five-star establishment. As former president of CSE, he was aware that Sarina Inn was not legally appointed as developer by the board, yet strategically used his brother-in-law and sister-in-law to acquire the plot, leading to accusations of misappropriation.

On November 20, 2004, Waliul Maruf Matin registered the plot and four floors (excluding the basement) in Golam Sarwar's name through deed No. 17294 at the Gulshan Sub-Registry Office. The deed did not specify the total number of floors on the plot. Golam Sarwar later omitted mentioning additional floors constructed on the plot and completed mutation from RAJUK and the land office in his name, evading government revenue. The deed's registration showed a lower price than the actual sale amount, further evading taxes.

Allegations state that Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Tahera Khasru Alam, Golam Sarwar, Sabera Sarwar Nena, and RAJUK's Building Inspector Aurangzeb Nannu conspired to cheat and benefit themselves by bypassing CSE decisions and using illegal means to develop and profit from plot no. 27 in Banani. Charges include criminal breach of trust under various sections of the Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 (Act No. 2).

Consequently, a case has been filed against Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Tahera Khasru Alam, Golam Sarwar, Sabera Sarwar Nena, and RAJUK's building inspector Aurangzeb Nannu.

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