The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) of Bangladesh on Thursday started investigation into irregularities against 18 hajj agencies, which were allegedly responsible for deceiving hundreds of intended pilgrims.
“We have received complaints of irregularities against 18 hajj agencies. The commission has already started investigation into the matter,” deputy director (public relations) Pronab Kumar Bhattacharya told journalists on Thursday.
“The allegations have been reported in the media. The ACC decided to launch a probe into the allegations based on these reports,” he added.
Pronab Bhattacharya said, that the ACC did not find any employees when they visited the offices of two of the agencies.
Asked which agencies were being probed and which ones had been visited, the official said, “The matter is still under investigation so nothing more can be revealed at this time.”
ACC deputy director Zulfiqar Ali has been entrusted with conducting investigation into the matter while Director General (DG) Muhammad Munir Chowdhury will supervise the entire matter, he also said.
A number of Hajj pilgrims every year fall victim to administrative errors. Around 400 intended pilgrims were unable to make their trips this year due to visa complications, delays in guide fee payments and bookings for lodging.
Ninety-eight such Bangladeshis have filed complaints against 18 Hajj agencies over their failure to fulfil their obligations, Ministry of Religious Affairs Joint Secretary Hafizur Rahman told journalists on Tuesday.
According to the complaint filed with Bimanbandar Police Station, 98 persons could not go to Saudi Arabia for performing hajj even after getting visas due to irregularities committed by 18 hajj agencies.
The parliamentary standing committee earlier asked for necessary measures to identify the hajj agencies and suggested exemplary punishment including cancellation of licenses of corrupt hajj agencies.
Chairman of the parliamentary body Col (Retd) Faruk Khan said that some pilgrims failed to go to Saudi Arabia due to problems created by the hajj agencies.
“So, we recommend the government for taking measures against those agencies within quickest possible time,” he said.
Joint Secretary of Religion Affairs Ministry Hafizur Rahman on Tuesday said “A total of 367 hajj pilgrims failed to go to Saudi Arabia for performing hajj this year due to various reasons.
Of them, 98 pilgrims lodged complaints. Their complaints will be taken into consideration and action will be taken against the responsible agencies”, he said at a media briefing at secretariat in the city.
He said a total of 127, 596 people were scheduled to go to perform hajj this year while 127,229 traveled to Saudi Arabia. According to this statistics, some 367 pilgrims missed this year’s hajj.
“The entire matter will be cleared after getting every report. Around 98 pilgrims lodged official complaints which proved that they were eager to perform hajj.
But they missed due to the negligence of hajj agencies”, he said adding that their complaints have been recorded.