SM Nasif Shams, son of Pabna-1 lawmaker Samsul Haque Tuku, has sent a rejoinder to a report run by The Daily Star on March 15 under the headline "Land grabbing in Pabna: District admin to probe allegation against MP's son".
Nafis, an assistant professor at the Institute of Energy at Dhaka University, in the March 31 rejoinder said the accusations and information mentioned in the report by certain law-breaking individuals are totally false. Their opinion mentioned in the report is biased and they gave the opinion out of sheer enmity.
Terming local Awami League leaders and others who lodged complaints against him "criminals", Nafis said they have been involved in narcotics, prostitution, sand lifting and other businesses for years and are against any development activities in the region. He said they obstructed a number of development activities in the past.
The MP's son said bringing allegations against him was a heinous conspiracy and an attempt to destroy his ventures for the betterment of the local people.
Nafis also said he wrote to the Pabna deputy commissioner on March 14 to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations prior to the publication of the news report in question.
He said he was significantly defamed, and his social acceptance, acclamation, respect and goodwill took a severe dent due to the publication of the report.
There has been no grabbing of private or government land whatsoever and there has not been any dispossession of any individual, he added.
So, publication of such a one-sided report based on allegations of certain law-breaking individuals without conducting an independent investigation or waiting for the result of the probe by the DC office is unfortunate and unacceptable, Nafis said.
The DU teacher expressed hope that The Daily Star would retract the news and be careful about such issues, particularly about its Pabna correspondent, in future for the sake of his reputation and also that of his family and the esteemed media outlets.
While preparing the report, The Daily Star talked to several local people who confirmed land grabbing by Nasif.
The report was based on a complaint lodged with the district administration against Nasif by Mominuzzaman Manik, a local. Copies of the complaint were submitted to some other government officials, including the secretary to the Cabinet Division, secretaries to the home, law, and land ministries, and commissioner of Rajshahi division seeking justice.
The Daily Star has a copy of the application.
The report contained comments of the Pabna deputy commissioner on the complaint lodged by local people. The DC office had informed this newspaper that the Cabinet Division formed an inquiry committee in this regard.
It also carried Nasif's comments on the allegations and his plans about the upcoming projects in the area and also what he thought of those who accused him of land grabbing.
So, it was not a one-sided report.
Also, The Daily Star correspondent did not express his own views in the report, but just wrote about the allegations of some local people and views of a local Awami League leader.