3 cases against Hasina quashed
The High Court yesterday quashed all proceedings against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in three corruption cases concerning Bangabandhu Novo Theatre (planetarium) in the capital.
The court declared illegal both the filing and proceedings of the cases.
The now defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (Bac) filed the cases during the rule of BNP-led four-party alliance.
The cases were later shifted to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
The HC in its judgement said the three cases were filed relating to the same project for setting up of the Novo Theatre with an ulterior motive of tarnishing her (Hasina's) image and status, and destroying her popularity.
The first information reports (FIRs) of the cases did not mention any offence against Sheikh Hasina under the penal code, and therefore she would not face conviction in any of the cases, said the HC verdict.
It further said the ACC chairman's approval for investigating the cases was illegal since he had alone taken the decision.
"The Anti-Corruption Commission means a composite body of the chairman and two other members. The commission must act as a whole, and no individual member or chairman can act as commission," the judgement said.
An HC bench comprised of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Borhan Uddin delivered the verdict upon three writ petitions filed by Hasina challenging the ACC chief 's approval of investigation into the cases.
Contacted, the petitioner's counsel barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said yesterday seven more cases against the PM are pending with lower courts.
He mentioned that separate petitions are pending with the HC challenging proceedings of those cases, and hearing of the petitions will be held soon.
On March 27, 2002, the Bac filed the three cases with Tejgaon Police Station accusing Hasina and some of her cabinet colleagues (in the previous Awami League government) on charges of corruption and irregularities in dealing with the project for setting up the planetarium.
The charges included spending much more money than needed in appointing consultants for the project and purchasing machinery, and constructing the building housing the planetarium.
Barrister Rafique-Ul Huq, assisted by a number of other lawyers, appeared for Hasina and advocate Fazle Kabir for the ACC.