A person from Tangail’s Gopalpur has accused Monir of forging his national ID card and providing false information about his educational qualification in his affidavit attached to the nomination papers.
The accuser, Khandaker Khabiruzzaman, said he has made a complaint, of which bdnews24.com has a copy, against Monir to the Election Commission.
While investigating Khabiruzzaman’s allegations, bdnews24.com has found an NID number on Monir’s passport, which does not match the one provided by Khabiruzzaman.
Neither Soto Monir, nor his elder brother Golam Kibria Boro Monir, took calls from bdnews24.com for comments on the allegations.
Besides being accused in murder and arms smuggling cases, Monir is involved with drugs business and other criminal activities, locals have alleged.
Monir, the science and technology secretary to the Awami League’s Tangail district unit, had earlier denied the allegations.
Besides Monir, the ruling party has initially nominated Khandaker Asaduzzaman MP’s son Khandaker Moshiuzzaman Romel for the seat.
The new allegations against Monir came two days after the returning officer declared his nomination valid.
The last six digits of Monir’s voter ID number were ‘001096’ and the address mentioned on it was Bajipur Road, East Adalat Parha, Tangail Sadar, but another person holds a voter ID card with the same number and address, according to Khabiruzzaman.
The last digits of the NID issued for Monir later were ‘000015’ and voter number ‘000226’, Khabiruzzaman said in the complaint.
[bdnews24.com is not publishing the full NID and voter numbers due to legal reasons]
But the last six digits of Monir’s NID number on his passport issued in 2017 are ‘010434’, bdnews24.com has found.
Monir’s brother Boro Moni sent a photograph of the passport in the initial stages of the bdnews24.com investigation. Photo of Monir’s passport is also available on their Facebook pages.
bdnews24.com contacted Iqbal Hossain, a deputy director at the Election Commission’s NID wing, on the NID issue.
“There is no scope for a person to have more than one NID number. But the numbers on laminated NID (with 13 and 17 digits) can be different from the smart NID numbers,” he said.
The 13-digit NID numbers do not contain the birth year, which is mentioned in the 17-digit NID numbers.
The NID number provided on Monir’s passport and the one by Khabiruzzaman are of 17 digits.
The first seven digits, which include his birth date, are same on both, but the last 10 digits do not match.
Boro Moni also came to the bdnews24.com offices in Dhaka the next day with a rejoinder, identifying himself as a member of the Tangail Press Club.
Khabiruzzaman said he filed his complaint against Soto Monir on Sunday, but the returning officer did not take cognisance of the allegations.
Soto Monir did not take calls from bdnews24.com on Sunday, but Boro Moni replied to the bdnews24.com queries on the NID and passport that day.
Soto Monir applied for NID two to three years ago and received it this year, according to Boro Moni.
Asked where Soto Moni got the NID number used on his passport issued last year, Boro Moni said it was taken from a passport “made in Germany in 2012”. He also sent photos of the two passports.
The two brothers are neither receiving phone calls nor are they replying to messages after Sunday’s conversation.
According to Boro Moni, his younger brother left Bangladesh for Germany in 1996.
In 2016, two German citizens were arrested at Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport with smuggled arms which had been declared replicas in the related papers.
The duo named Soto Monir as their associate, according to media reports.
NSI and DGFI officials at the airport examined the arms initially and said those were actual firearms.
An official with knowledge of the incident said the accused people later vanished after getting freed on bail and the arms were proved toys.
“They escaped by managing different parties,” he said.
They issued the passport after finding all the information provided by Monir “correct”, he added.
The other allegation brought by Khabiruzzaman was that Soto Monir claimed he passed Higher Secondary Certificate or HSC exams in the NID, but in the affidavit, he says he can only read.
Boro Moni said the educational qualification mentioned in Soto Monir’s NID was not correct and they had already applied to have it changed.
Many also wonder why Soto Monir used only ‘Soto Monir’ as his name in the passport, though he is known as Tanvir Hasan Soto Monir in Tangail.
Boro Moni also mentioned the full name - ‘Tanvir Hasan Soto Monir’ – in the rejoinder. They are also using it in the campaign.
Locals, however, suspect foul play over the names.