The High Court on Wednesday issued a suo-moto rule asking the government to reply in two weeks as to why it shall not be directed to form an inquiry committee or commission to identify and bring the people to justice, who “fabricated stories of corruption” about Padma Bridge Project.
The bench of Justices Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Mohammad Ullah issued the rule following reports being published in the Daily Inqilab and other newspapers on “Punishment sought for Dr Yunus’”.
The court asked the cabinet, law, home, and communication secretaries; chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC); and the inspector general of police (IGP) to reply within the stipulated time.
The court also asked the cabinet secretary to submit a compliance report regarding the formation of the commission within 30 days.
On February 11, a court in Canada threw out a case against two former executives of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc, which alleged that that they had planned to bribe Bangladesh officials in a bid to win a $50m contract to supervise the construction of the Padma Bridge.
The World Bank, Jica, Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank were the initial investors in the mega project. The WB had pledged $1.2bn.
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The bridge’s work stalled after the WB suspended the fund and raised corruption allegations in October 2011. The other lenders followed suit. The global creditor submitted two reports to Bangladesh government seeking action against the suspects.
On December 17, 2012, the ACC filed a case of “conspiracy for corruption in the Padma Bridge project” against seven people including former bridges division secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan. The ACC also included the names of former communications minister Syed Abul Hossain, and former state minister Abul Hasan Chowdhury as suspects.
The construction of the bridge, however, began in December last year with local funds.