The Anti-Corruption Commission has started examining complaints against bdnews24.com Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi of possessing wealth inconsistent with his disclosed income, an allegation he has brushed aside as "utterly baseless".
"We did stories that hurt a very powerful lobby, and are paying the price for what I believe is good, exemplary journalism done by my colleagues," Khalidi said, responding to a letter from the commission. The ACC in the letter sent to the bdnews24.com offices in Dhaka on Tuesday asked him to appear in the commission's headquarters on Nov 11.
The letter said Khalidi's statement was required in connection with the allegations of "transferring a huge amount of money" by "hiding location" by himself and bdnews24.com, and "earning wealth inconsistent with his known income through illegal activities".
In a statement, Khalidi said, "I was never involved in any irregularity, corruption or illegal activity. I don't possess any wealth that is inconsistent with my disclosed income." Khalidi said he has been filing tax returns regularly every year with transparency since he returned to Bangladesh in 2005.
bdnews24.com has also cleared the income tax of its employees in line with the wage board properly, he said."I have now a little more than 8 percent ownership of the company after selling some shares to an asset management company. All the related documents are with the relevant government agency," Khalidi said.
"Prior to this, I, along with my colleagues, suffered immensely for years, to take the company where it is now today. They made personal sacrifices to preserve, protect and uphold the journalistic values and integrity.
"Many of us didn't even get salary for months. The company couldn't pay my regular salary. My bank statements will prove it."Khalidi said: "To the best of my knowledge, the ACC issues such letters in many cases following anonymous complaints. This procedure is not only illogical, but also humiliating."
"A similar letter has been sent out to me. I'm shocked; it's deeply painful at the very personal level.""I'm always respectful to the law and I'll take a legal course to deal with it. I believe a fair and legitimate investigation will reveal the truth and the allegations will be proved baseless," Khalidi said.
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