The High Court held a hearing on the rule issued five years ago asking the government to form an inquiry committee or commission to find out the conspirators behind the creation of false stories over the Padma Bridge project.
The bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo held the hearing on Monday and fixed Tuesday (today) for further hearing and to pass an order on the rule.
During the Monday hearing, the HC bench observed that those who had opposed the Padma Bridge construction were enemies of the country and the nation, and that they must be identified.
“The Padma Bridge is a national asset and our pride. If there is no conspiracy, why was the financing of the construction of the Padma Bridge stopped? Those who are against the Padma Bridge project and such development are the enemies of the country and the nation, and they must be found out,” said the HC bench.
Advocate Md Khurshid Alam Khan stood in the court for the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC), while Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state.
Earlier on Sunday (June 26), the HC bench fixed Monday (June 27) as the date of hearing on the five-year old suo-muto (voluntary) rule as Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik had pleaded fixing a date for hearing the rule.
The High Court on February 15 in 2017 had issued the rule asking the government to reply in two weeks as to why it shall not direct formation of an inquiry committee or commission to find out the conspirators behind the Padma Bridge construction agreement and the creation of false stories of corruption.
It had also asked the government to explain why it should not be directed to bring the real culprits under justice after identifying them through the commission.
The higher court had asked the cabinet, law, home and communication secretaries, chairman of ACC and Inspector General of Police (IGP) to reply the rule.
The court had also asked the cabinet secretary to submit a report on the steps taken in line with the court’s order to form the commission within 30 days. The state on March 20 in 2017 in a petition had pleaded to allow eight weeks’ time to file the report, and the court granted them time until May 7.
The then HC bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Mohammad Ullah had issued the rule on a suo-muto move following media reports, citing a Canadian court’s decision to acquit all the three accused of corruption conspiracy.
Later, the Canadian police sued some top officials of SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian construction firm.
The World Bank, the main financier of the project, eventually withdrew the project after allegations of corruption were brought against senior government officials and ministers.
The ACC and other agencies investigated the allegations of corruption and found the allegations were false.
At that time, a report was also published in a national daily under the caption ‘Yunus demands justice: Awami League and like-minded parties unite’.
The Padma Bridge was opened for vehicular movement on Sunday (June 26). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina unveiled the plaque of the 6.15-kilometr bridge at Mawa end in Munsiganj through a grand ceremony on Saturday (June 25).