Branding Syed Abul Hossain and Abul Hasan Chowdhury as "thieves," BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday said the government spared the duo to protect some other bigwigs from being exposed.
"Country's image has been destroyed through bribery even before the construction of Padma bridge. Why are the Abuls excluded? The fact is the government knows that some bigwigs' name would come up [in the Padma bridge graft allegation] if Abul's name is included [in the case]," she told a reception of freedom fighters at Mahanagar Nattya Mancha in the capital.
It may be mentioned the Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday sued seven people for alleged corruption in the Padma bridge project. Though the initial inquiry report named former communications minister Abul Hossain and former state minister for foreign affairs Abul Hasan as suspects, the duo were not made accused in the case.
The former prime minister alleged a conspiracy was on to change the country's map, and urged all to join the "struggle to save the country" and the ongoing movement to force the government to quit power.
The main opposition party organised the reception marking the Victory Day. Several hundred freedom fighters and a large number of party leaders, workers and supporters attended the programme presided by Maj (retd) Shahjahan Omar.
Referring to the scams involving share market collapse, Hall-Mark, Destiny and VOIP, Khaleda said everyone in the government -- ministers, Mps, advisers -- are "thieves". Even the relatives of the prime minister are involved in looting money.
She called upon all to join the anti-government movement for strengthening democracy by establishing a people's government through an election under a non-party, neutral administration.
"No election will be held under the Awami League. We won't allow it. We'll continue our agitation. People have started to leave the Awami League and they are now joining us," Khaleda said.
Hinting at the release of top criminal Bikash, the opposition leader said killers and top terrors were being freed when leaders like Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir (BNP acting secretary general) were being arrested and false cases filed against opposition leaders and workers.
She added Sheikh Hasina was still making false statement about the murder of Bishwajit Das. "Trial of this killing must be held in this country one day and none will be spared."
Bishwajit, a 24-year-old tailor, was beaten and hacked to death by a group of Chhatra League activists on December 9.
According to Khaleda, the country was now facing a situation like one that prevailed in 1972-75.
The government wants to cling to power for ever by banning all political parties "as if Bangladesh is their paternal property," she alleged.
"But we won't allow it. Everyone has to come forward to resist this government."
The BNP chief claimed 40,000 freedom fighters had been killed after the Liberation War and the Awami League should be tried for their killings.
She promised increasing freedom fighters' allowance and setting up a hospital for them if voted to power.
BNP leaders Tariqul Islam, Sadeque Hossain Khoka, Abdullah Al Noman, Shamser Mobin Chowdhury, Hafizuddin Ahmed and Kalyan Party Chairman Maj Gen (retd) Syed Muhammad Ibrahim, among others, spoke on the occasion.