Bangladesh security agencies at the weekend say they have found details of a top secret meeting at an corporate guest attended by some military and intelligence officers trying to plot the removal of BD army chief General Aziz Ahmed.
This meeting presided over by a pro-Pakistani adviser to PM , says BD intelligence officials, have “sinister connotations”.
Some of those in the meeting are aspirants for the top job, others of anti-Awami League dispensation.
After a regime change plot by a ‘Major Power’ which had this ‘pro-Pakistani adviser’ leading the machinations with his son , Bangladesh agencies foiled the plot , partly by sheer luck when a retired military participant spilled the beans to a leading intelligence agency in the country by meeting its officer in Bangladesh embassy in Washington .
Then the agency arm-twisted another participant from a smaller anti -AL party and got him to confess.
Now the DIG (Confidential) of Bangladesh police has asked Bangladesh Deputy High Comission in Kolkata to find out the place of stay of some of the conspirators who came to the city to meet diplomats of a ‘Major Power’ in February for the first two meetings.
All subsequent meetings were held online in virtual mode.
The letter asks the mission to check on places of stay of the conspirators, the fact of their travel being already confirmed from airport immigration records.
The ‘pro-Pakistani adviser’ has unleashed a major insinuation campaign against senior BBC journalist Subir Bhaumik after the expose of his evil empire built on more than $800 million bank default and more than 50000 crore Taka in money laundering.
The secret meeting on Friday night took place in the corporate guest house of this ‘pro-Pakistani adviser’ for firming up a plan to oust Aziz, who is otherwise in control of the army.
“This small gang of generals and brigadiers are enmeshed with the pro-Pak adviser and they see Aziz as a major bulwark against their evil plans because the army chief is totally loyal to PM Sheikh Hasina,” said a top Bangladesh intelligence source.
A recent trend of getting key military appointments initiated by PMO, which leaves Army Hqs no choice, has seen the removal of key aides of Gen Aziz from crucial positions.
The removal of Brig Salam from the position of DMI is one of the many such appointments orchestrated by this pro-Pakistan adviser.
There is confirmation of the meeting from other diplomatic sources in Dhaka — it is open secret most big missions have intelligence officers under consular cover.
The meeting resolved to (a) mount maximum pressure on PM Hasina to remove General Aziz (b) appoint one Lt-Gen from their cabal and another to a post like Indian-style CDS (c) mount maximum pressure to take the ‘pro-Pakistani adviser’ into the cabinet and give him Defence portfolio so far handled by PM Hasina herself (d) ultimately project this ‘pro-Pakistani adviser’ as PM and push Hasina to Presidency where she would just be titular head .
It is reliably learnt that this ‘pro-Pakistani adviser’, a Rasputin type character with strong fundamentalist and global jihadi connections (a high level level enquiry has been started by Bangladesh on tip-off from India about terror financing by big corporates), has engineered squabbles in the PM household by playing on different personalities there to trigger a succession question.
India is firm on backing PM Sheikh Hasina to the hilt , despite confusing reports engineered by this ‘Rasputin’ backed Media.
“We have no reason to see her go because she has done so much for us . It is actually payback time and we are considering some major concessions to Bangladesh, from water to world affairs issues. We intend to push for an amicable repatriation of Rohingyas, maybe after the Myanmar polls in November,” said a top Indian foreign ministry source.
The source said India is ‘hardly bothered’ with an occasional videocon between Pakistan PM Imran Khan and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina —
“Yes we don’t like Kashmir raised, but Pakistan will raise Kashmir even in Covid related meetings or if there is a conference on Mars and Moon,” the source said.
Bangladesh agencies complain that this ‘pro-Pakistani adviser’ has forced them to avoid ‘hard questioning ‘ of detained retired Lt General Sarwardy who was pulled up for his insidious social media interview by Kanak Sarwar . Such social media output were seen as key to a regime change in Bangladesh by igniting huge popular unrest on pattern of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.
This adviser has also blocked attempts by agencies to interrogate him and his son for involvement in the alleged regime change plot by a ‘Major Power’.
Bangladesh intelligence officials told that they were still awaiting clear instructions on a few important people who were allegedly linked to it.
“We want to interrogate a few bigshots but they are powerful and are obviously active to thwart investigations, even influence them. We know that a PM adviser who managed to quash court cases on his involvement in both 1996 and 2010-11 stock market scams,” said a top official in one of the agencies.
He said the adviser has been barred from PMO and is under surveillance but it was not yet clear whether he can be questioned, as direction on that is awaited at the highest level.
India has watched with unease this adviser’s rise in the Bangladesh PMO and his ability to place his own people at many key positions has been amazing.
Intelligence has details about this adviser’s house in Saudi Arabia which he shared with his in-law who is a BNP leader and businessman, which had become the key staging point for the purported regime change plot.
It is in this house not far from the holy sites that this adviser and his cohorts confabulated with the ‘operations’ cadre of a ‘Major Power’ and later with ISI officials from Pakistan.
The ISI biggest station for operations against India and Bangladesh is located in Dubai, both the legal and illegal residencies meaning those ISI operatives using diplomatic cover and those with cover assignments.
The ISI team in Dubai includes an officer who has studied with the son of the Bangladesh PM Adviser in Karachi – one who is a periodic visitor to Bangladesh under business cover.
The Adviser has outwitted the Bangladesh Foreign Office by convincing the highest decision making authority that China (by its clout on Myanmar government) and Pakistan (by its control over ARSA and other jihadi elements) held the key to Bangladesh’s Rohingya problem and that India had no real role to play in it.
“The BJP’s meaningless rhetoric like calling Bangladeshis termites and India’s less-than-competent diplomatic team in Dhaka has helped this Adviser boost Pakistani influence in PMO and Bangladesh decision making ,” said long time Bangladesh watcher Sukharanjan Dasgupta, author of ‘Midnight Massacre’ , an account of the coup that killed Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
India is sending a tough diplomat, Vikram Doraiswamy, to replace the current envoy , Reeva Ganguly Das, a master in “gayoka-Nayika” soft diplomacy but at sea in handing fast changing political dynamics where Pakistan and China are making determined attempts to woo Bangladesh.
Top diplomats of Bangladesh and Pakistan have held talks recently to promote bilateral relations under the active initiative of the PM’s adviser.
“Both sides agreed to promote bilateral relations with a forward-looking approach,” Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Dhaka Imran Ahmed Siddiqui said on Anadolu Agency.
Referring to the talks with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on July 1, Siddiqui added: “The two sides briefed each other on the COVID-19 situation in their respective countries and precautionary and preventive measures being taken.”
Siddiqui said: “Pakistan believes there is a huge potential in bilateral economic and commercial cooperation. We must work together to realize this potential with a focus on bringing our respective private sectors closer.”
“We want stronger relations with brotherly Bangladesh in all walks of life. We share common bonds of history, religion and culture,” he added.
The Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry did not issue a statement about the meeting and the story was almost missing in Bangladesh media with only the Turkish Anadolu Agency covering it.
Some media reports suggests that the Bangladesh government has been asked by security agencies to sack or at least suspend the Adviser pending investigations but that may not be possible because he has ‘far too much influence where it matters.”
Respected media outlets in Bangladesh like ‘Daily Star’ and ‘Prothom Alo’ and even the ‘New York Times ‘ had reported that the corporate bigshot used his huge influence in the Awami League to silence the 1996 and 2010-11 stock scams before his influence multiplied several times when he went on to become a MP and a PM adviser with the rank of cabinet minister.
Bangladesh and global media reports had suggested that the corporate bigwig said to be prime accused behind the scams also figures in two secret Bangladesh Bank Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) report, one on Money Laundering and another on Bank Defaults which is eating into the vitals of the nation’s burgeoning economy.
FIU was the brainchild of former Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman whose removal from the position was orchestrated by this shady corporate boss on alleged dereliction of duty when a transfer of millions of dollars meant for BB ended up in Filipino casinos.
Rahman’s subordinates responsible for overseeing such transfers were possibly involved but the BB governor, a highly respected economist whose work on Tagore as a socio-economic thinker is path breaking, was unaware and only took the blame for the fiasco because he stood by the principle of collective responsibility.
Both FIU reports put this powerful business magnate on top of their list — the biggest bank defaulted and the biggest money launderer.
Like Rahman, former Bangladesh finance minister A M A Muhith was also apprehensive of the damage this business magnate was causing to Bangladesh’s economy.
Muhith blocked several files involving his companies – so this business magnate orchestrated Muhith’s removal and replacement by his close confidante , the new finance minister, so that he would never be pulled up for his huge bank defaults and his considerable money laundering.
It is rumoured that this shady business magnate is also involved in helping the money laundering operations of a key member of the PM household, something that is already in the radar of the US Inland Revenue Service. But now that he is part of a ‘regime change plot’ these investigations may wane.