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21 March, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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HC seeks report on Padma Bridge probe panel

Staff Reporter
HC seeks report on Padma Bridge probe panel

The High Court (HC) yesterday asked the government to submit a progress report on its earlier order to form an inquiry commission to find out who fabricated tales about corruption in the Padma Multipurpose Bridge (PMB) project.
The home secretary and the Cabinet secretary have been asked to submit the progress report before the HC by May 9. The HC bench, comprising Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Mohammad Ullah, gave the order after hearing was completed on a suo motu rule it issued on February 15.
On behalf of the home and Cabinet secretaries, deputy attorney-general Taposh Kumar Biswas had earlier sought eight weeks from the court to form the inquiry commission.
Following media reports, the same HC bench had on February 15 issued the suo motu rule, asking the government to explain in two weeks why it should not be directed to form an inquiry commission to find out who had circulated false stories about corruption in the project.
It had also asked the government why it should not be directed to bring the offenders to justice for conspiring against the nation as well as the government by making up such stories.
The HC bench had directed the Cabinet secretary to submit a report before it in 30 days, explaining the steps taken in line with the rule.
It all started when the World Bank raised a stink over alleged corruption in the execution of the Padma Bridge Project and suspended funding. Bangladesh was forced to withdraw the funding request and is now implementing the project with its own resources.
A case was started in a Canadian court against construction giant SNC-Lavalin, accusing it of bribing Bangladeshi officials to secure contracts in the Padma Bridge Project in 2010–11.
After a long hearing, the Canadian court acquitted the two employees of Canada-based SNC-Lavalin and a Bangladeshi-Canadian businessman on February 3. The verdict said the evidence produced in the case was “nothing more than assumptions and rumours”.
The then communications minister Abul Hossain was forced to resign following allegations of his involvement in the scam. Former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan Chowdhury also faced similar allegations.
Former Bridges Division secretary Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan was sent to jail in the case. Later, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigated the case and found no evidence against the accused.
The Padma Bridge graft case was dismissed in 2014 after the ACC submitted its final probe report. Following the report, the court acquitted seven persons, including the secretary, of charges in the Padma Bridge Project graft case.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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