12:00 AM, December 27, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 27, 2012

Padma Bridge Graft Case

2 key accused held

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Staff Correspondent

Two prime accused of Padma bridge corruption conspiracy -- ex-secretary of Bridges Division Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan and superintendent engineer of Bangladesh Bridge Authority Kazi Mohammad Ferdous -- were arrested in the capital's Shahbagh area yesterday.
An Anti-Corruption Commission team led by its director Mohammad Tahidul Islam made the arrests in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh at around 1:30pm.
The duo will be produced before a Dhaka Court today with remand prayers for seven to 10 days each, ACC Commissioner Mohammad Shahabuddin told reporters at the ACC office in the evening.
The arrests were made about an hour after a High Court bench returned their bail petitions filed in connection with the Padma bridge corruption conspiracy case.
They were brought to the ACC office for interrogation and then taken to Dhanmondi Police Station in the evening, said a source in the ACC.
On December 17, the anti-graft body sued seven people, including the duo, for conspiring to commit bribery in the Padma bridge project after a year-long enquiry into the corruption allegations in the project.
Meanwhile, the vacation bench of justices Md Rezaul Haque and Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo asked the accused petitioners to move the bail petitions to a regular HC bench after the vacation.
The HC will reopen on January 2 next year.
Mosharraf and Ferdous filed two petitions with the HC on December 19 seeking anticipatory bail in the corruption conspiracy case that the ACC filed with Banani Police Station.
The two accused appeared before the HC bench yesterday morning seeking anticipatory bail in the case.
The bench returned the petitions, as it could not hear those for constraints of time, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told The Daily Star.
He said the duo now cannot submit the petitions to the HC for anticipatory bail, as they have been arrested in connection with the case.
Now, the accused have to move bail petitions to the magistrate's court concerned, he said.
ACC Commissioner Shahabuddin said the graft body is trying hard to arrest the two other Bangladeshi accused -- Reaz Ahmed Zaber, executive engineer of Roads and Highways Department, and Mohammad Mostofa, deputy managing director of Engineering and Planning Consultant, a local agent of Canadian firm SNC Lavalin.
On the three Canadians accused in the case, he said the ACC will either send a team to Canada or bring the trio to Bangladesh for the investigation in the case.
He said it will take time, as the three are also facing corruption charges in Canada over the Padma bridge project.
The three accused are SNC Lavalin officials Mohammad Ismail, Ramesh Shah and Kevin Wales.
The WB cancelled its $1.2 billion funding on June 29 this year, saying it had proof of a "corruption conspiracy" involving Bangladeshi officials, executives of a Canadian firm and some individuals.
The global lender on September 21 decided to revive the loan after the Bangladesh government agreed to the WB's terms and conditions.

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