In a sudden move, the government yesterday relieved Additional Attorney General MK Rahman of his post without showing any reason.
The government order means he may also lose the post of chief coordinator of the prosecution team at the International Crimes Tribunals.
Sources in the attorney general's office said his services were terminated as the government was annoyed with him over a number of issues.
Rahman did not make any strong arguments against the High Court order that asked the authorities to arrest three former Rab officials for their alleged involvement in the abduction and killing of seven people in Narayanganj. And the government was irked by this, added the sources, requesting anonymity.
He also had a conflict with the prosecution team at the tribunals.
Contacted, Rahman said he did not know why he had been relieved of the post. “The government is the authority to appoint anyone to this post or relieve him. I am fine. I tried my best to do my work properly.”
Appointed to the post in March 2009, he performed his official duties all day yesterday until he was relieved in the afternoon. He was attending a UNDP-organised workshop for government law officers at the attorney general's office when the gazette of the termination order came, sources said.
He received the order around 5:15pm.
Asked if anyone had raised any allegations against him, he said he was unaware of any such things.
On his job at the tribunals, he said, “I don't know. I've no idea."
His appointment was cancelled by President Abdul Hamid, who is constitutionally bound to perform all his duties, save appointing the prime minister and the chief justice, on the advice of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In January last year, Rahman was given the additional job of chief coordinator of the prosecution team at the war crimes tribunals.
The gazette notification did not say whether he can continue to work there.
Syed Aminul Islam, acting secretary of the ministry's law and justice division, said Rahman might not be able to hold the post, as he was assigned this job by the virtue of his post as additional attorney general.
Law Minister Anisul Huq and Law Secretary ASSM Zahirul Haque (who are now abroad) can clarify it, he told this newspaper.
On May 11, the HC issued a rule on the government for the arrest of the three controversial Rab men, who were forced to retire before the court order.
The government was embarrassed by the directive, sources said.
Three days after the HC order, Hasina told an Awami League meeting at Gono Bhaban that the over-enthusiasm of some quarters in filing petitions on various issues with the court was creating obstacles for the executive branch.
Referring to the three organs of the state, the PM said, “We should be careful about the jurisdiction of every organ and should not impede the activities of the others."
“We know what steps should be taken and when. But what will the executive branch do if the judiciary performs the duties that are basically under the jurisdiction of the executive branch?” she said.
At the meeting, she inquired about the track record of MK Rahman and his role when the writ petition was moved before the HC, according to the meeting sources.
An AL leader told Hasina, also the party president, that Rahman was a pro-AL man. But Hasina was not convinced, the sources added.
Of the three sacked Rab men, two were arrested in the early hours of Saturday and the other one was nabbed early on Sunday from Dhaka cantonment.
The government was criticised for the delay in arresting them.
Rahman's termination sparked widespread speculation, as the government did not show any reason.
Syed Aminul Islam, who signed the gazette notification, said he did not know why the government had made the decision.
He also could not say if there was any allegation against Rahman.
Contacted, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said he too was in the dark about the reason behind it.
Under the law, the government can remove any law officer anytime, he said, adding that it was not a permanent post.
The Bangladesh Law Officers Order, 1972, empowers the government to dismiss any law officer without showing any reason.
In Bangladesh, the attorney general, additional attorney general, deputy attorney general and assistant attorney general are law officers and under the law they represent the state in court.