The government attempt to get a corruption case withdrawn in Sylhet is a "naked interference" into the affairs of the Anti-Corruption Commission, observed the High Court.
The government can neither withdraw nor recommend the withdrawal of any corruption cases filed and moved by the ACC.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman in the full text of the verdict on a revision petition filed by the ACC on the issue said the law does not allow the government to do so.
However, the bench said the government could make requests to the ACC on such matters but it was up to the independent body whether to entertain them.
The short verdict was delivered on December 10 and the full text yesterday.
On November 19, 2014, the ACC filed the petition with the HC challenging a Sylhet court's order of January 26, 2012, that granted a government prayer to withdraw a corruption case against Md Abdul Kashem, chairman Number-4 Borodal Uttar Union in Tahirpur upazila, and two others.
The Sylhet court also exempted the accused from the case proceedings.
The case was filed with Tahirpur Police Station on April 5, 2007, against the accused in connection with embezzling 17 bundles of corrugated iron sheets meant for government relief to the poor. The sheets were worth Tk 1.36 lakh.
On February 11, 2011, the home ministry recommended withdrawal of the case.
The government reportedly recommended withdrawal of over 7,000 criminal cases filed before the Awami League assumed power.
In the full verdict, the HC said, "Such an endeavour [having the case withdrawn] on the part of the government can be regarded as a naked interference in the affairs of an independent body like the commission.
"Because section 3(2) of the Act of 2004 [ACC Act] postulates in clear terms that the Anti-Corruption Commission shall be an independent and impartial body. More so, it has already been noticed that as per mandate of section 10(4) of the Act of 1958 [Criminal Law Amendment Act], the Anti-Corruption Commission is the only authorised body to withdraw from the prosecution against any person either generally or in respect of any one or more offences under the Act of 2004 or the Act of 1958," it said.
"Thus, it is patent that the government has nothing to do in respect of withdrawal of a case filed under the Act of 2004 or the Act of 1958. Be that as it may, if the government wants to withdraw a case pending before the Court of Special Judge, in that event it can only make a request or express its pious wish to the commission and if the government makes such a request, the commission is free to decide indifferently whether it would consider such request or proposal of the government or not," the HC judges said.
Khurshid Alam Khan, the ACC lawyer, told The Daily Star that it is the established provision of the law that the government cannot withdraw any corruption case filed or moved by the ACC and even it cannot recommend for their withdrawal.
The HC in the full text clearly interpreted the law in detail, he added.
Deputy Attorney General Sarwar Hossain Bappi refused to make any comment on the HC observation.