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Graft swoop on Khaleda son

Dhaka, March 8 (Agencies): Bangladesh security forces have arrested Tarique Rahman, the son of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, and raided the homes of a number of politicians, including former Prime Minister Hasina Wajed, as part of a nationwide sweep against corruption, police said.

Tarique, who is the joint secretary-general of Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was detained early today from his mother’s house in Dhaka, the ATN Bangla TV station and Daily Star newspaper reported. Rahman is widely seen as a successor to Zia.

Hasina’s “Shudha Sadan” residence was searched twice since late last night in a bid to arrest some of her Awami League partymen, ATN Bangla reported today.

During the raid, security forces checked the visitors’ register and noted the names of those who visited the Awami chief’s residence. The party’s senior joint secretary Obaidul Kader’s home was also searched.

Also today, security forces arrested Khondakar Mosharraf Hossain, a former health minister and a close aide of Zia, from his residence in Dhaka’s northern Gulshan district, his son Khondakar Tushar said.

Among the detainees were also the mayor of the southeastern port city of Chittagong, two former lawmakers and the leader of an Islamic party, ATN Bangla reported.

Mayor A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury was picked up from his house in Chittagong, 216 km southeast of Dhaka, the report said.

Late yesterday, security forces detained Atiqullah Khan Masud, owner of Dhaka’s Janakantha newspaper, from his office, the paper’s editor Toab Khan said. It was not known why Masud was detained.

The government did not immediately explain the charges against the detained politicians.

A law adviser to the interim government, Mainul Hussein, said earlier this week that many more people were on a “wanted” list prepared by the law enforcing agencies. “Anyone found to be involved in corruption in any way will not be spared,” he said.

Over the past few weeks, security forces arrested more than 60 politicians, including 13 former ministers.

Most of the detainees belong to the BNP and the Awami League.

Feuding between the two parties over electoral reforms triggered several months of violent street protests, prompting acting President Iajuddin Ahmed to impose the state of emergency on January 11. The interim government, headed by former central bank chief Fakhruddin Ahmed, has vowed to clean up corruption before setting a date for the next election.

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