Councillors in Dhaka City Polls: Pro-BNP aspirants face 1,024 cases
At least 69 BNP-backed councillor candidates in Dhaka city are facing more than a thousand cases while only six Awami League-supported aspirants are facing 10 lawsuits, show their affidavits submitted to the returning officers.
More than half of the 1,024 cases against the BNP-backed contenders in 69 wards of the two city corporations were filed between 2017 and 2018 when the country’s politics got heated up over the 11th parliamentary elections.
The charges against them include holding rallies illegally, indulging in violence and preventing government officials from carrying out duties.
Only six AL-supported councillor candidates are facing 10 cases filed over corruption and repression of women.
However, this is not the complete picture as Dhaka North City Corporation was yet to make public the affidavits of the councillor candidates in 36 of its 54 wards. Dhaka South City Corporation published the affidavits of the contenders in all the 75 wards.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday evening, DNCC Returning Officer Abul Kashem said they would upload the rest of the affidavits soon on their official website.
In the DSCC, 57 BNP-backed contenders are facing 876 criminal cases and only four AL-supported candidates are facing four lawsuits filed over corruption, repression of women and making threats, according to their affidavits.
BNP’s Dhaka south unit Vice President Sirajul Islam, a candidate in DSCC ward 16, faces the highest number of cases -- 63 -- most of which were filed for holding rallies illegally, inciting violence and preventing government officials from carrying out duties.
Of the cases, 40 were filed between 2017 and 2018, and the rest between 2011 and 2015.
Sirajul, a businessman, contested the 2015 city corporation polls but lost to AL-backed candidate Hossain Haidar Hiru.
Another BNP-supported candidate, Harunur Rashid, joint general secretary of the party’s Dhaka South unit, is facing around 50 criminal cases filed between 2012 and 2018.
He had been cleared of three other cases, his affidavit shows.
Contacted, Rashid, a businessman, said he had been “implicated in fabricated” cases to keep him away from politics.
“These are political cases. Whenever a party comes to power, it files cases against leaders and activists of rival parties.”
He hoped the government would let him contest the polls without any hindrance.
The situation is different for the AL-supported candidates.
AL-backed councillor Abul Kalam, who is contesting the polls from DSCC ward 48, had five cases against him. Those were filed between 2005 and 2008 over trespass on private property, involvement in violence, and possession of explosives and illegal arms.
All the cases were withdrawn under section 494 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), according to his affidavit.
He, however, did not mention when the cases were withdrawn.
Another AL-supported councillor, Mohammad Nasim Mia of DSCC ward 52, had been accused in an arms case in 2003. The case was withdrawn in 2012.
“As per section 494 of the CrPC, the charges were withdrawn during the tenure of the Awami League-led government in 2012,” Nasim stated in his affidavit.
According to the section, a prosecutor can withdraw a case against an accused, with the consent of the court, at any stage of the proceedings.
AL-supported councillor Awal Hossain, who is contesting the polls from DSCC ward 33, had faced six cases.
Of those, one was filed for traffic rules violation in 2014 and the rest between 2001 and 2007 over abduction, murder attempt, trespass on private property, and possession of explosives.
He has been relieved of all the six cases.
In the DNCC, at least 12 BNP-backed candidates are facing 167 cases.
Of them, Sheikh Amir Hossain, a councillor candidate in ward 35 and the owner of a confectionary, is facing 46 cases. Those were filed for holding rallies illegally, indulging in violence and preventing government officials from carrying out duties.
Nurul Islam Ratan, AL-backed candidate from DNCC ward 29, had three cases against him. Those were filed between 1999 and 2009 for holding rallies illegally, inciting violence and obstructing government officials while on duty.
In his affidavit, Nurul stated that he had been relieved of all the three cases.