The national committee for recommending withdrawal of “politically motivated” lawsuits yesterday proposed dropping 72 cases, including around 10 murder cases against Bangladesh Chhatra League and Awami League men dating back as far as 1988.
The 72 recommended cases also included cases against two ruling party lawmakers -- Amanur Rahman Khan of Tangail and Maj Gen (retd) Subid Ali Bhuiyan of Comilla.
Even though the committee was formed in February, 2009, to recommend withdrawal of "politically motivated" cases filed between 2001 and 2008, the committee went out of its way yesterday and proposed dropping of at least two murder cases filed in 1988 and 1996 against Chhatra League men.
The withdrawal recommendations were made at the committee's 31st meeting held at the home ministry with State Minister for Law Qamrul Islam in the chair.
Following the meeting, Qamrul told reporters that a total of 277 cases -- 166 new cases and 111 old cases -- had been tabled for withdrawal recommendations. He said they recommended that 42 new cases and 30 old and pending cases be withdrawn.
Asked, he said no narcotics related cases were recommended for withdrawal and that "one or two murder cases were recommended [to be dropped]".
However, contradicting his claim, a source, who was in the meeting, said withdrawal of around 10 murder cases had been recommended.
The minister said all the cases proposed to be dropped were referred to the national committee by the district committees that had been formed with deputy commissioners, additional deputy commissioners, superintendents of police and public prosecutors.
“Justifying” the withdrawal recommendations, he said during BNP-led government between 2001 and 2006, and the last caretaker government regime, Awami League men had fallen victim to false cases.
However, the meeting source said the committee had recommended withdrawal of a murder case filed on November 18, 1988, with Boalia Police Station in Rajshahi against Chhatra League leader Ruhul Kaddus Babu.
It also recommended withdrawal of the murder case filed on April 14, 1996, with Chittagong Police Station against Chhatra League leaders Suranjit Barua and Labu.
The committee also recommended the withdrawal of a case filed under the Explosive Substances Act against ruling party lawmaker Maj Gen (retd) Subid of Comilla. The case was filed in connection with arson at the home of BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain during last BNP-led four-party alliance rule.
During the last BNP-led government rule, lawmaker Amanur was accused in a case filed in connection with a clash between Awami League and BNP activists in Tangail during which a man was killed. The case was proposed to be dropped.
The committee yesterday cancelled its recommendation, made in its earlier meeting, to withdraw the case Prothom Alo reporter Tipu Sultan had filed against an Awami League leader in 2001 in connection with torturing the journalist.
Details of the other cases in question could not be known.
The inter-ministerial national committee drew flak from different quarters as it recommended several cases filed against alleged murderers and notorious criminals since its first meeting in 2009.
At its previous 30 meetings, the committee had recommended withdrawing as many as 7,177 cases against a total of 11,200 cases referred to it, according to a source in the home ministry.
State Minister Qamrul said yesterday's meeting could be the last meeting of the committee during the present government.