5 in the EC dock | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 22, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 22, 2008

5 in the EC dock

3 BNP, 2 JP candidates allegedly concealed info; candidature to be cancelled, if guilty

Workers of Election Commission yesterday pack and label electoral equipment and materials for polling centres across the country to be used in the parliamentary and upazila elections.
Photo: STAR

In a major step the Election Commission (EC) yesterday decided to launch investigations against three BNP and two Jatiya Party candidates who allegedly concealed information in their affidavits submitted with nomination papers.
If found guilty, they might be declared disqualified by EC at this stage. If they are elected and the commission's orders come after polls, their election will be declared void and the seat will fall vacant.
The new article 91E of the Representation of the People Order (RPO) provides EC with the authority, though political parties, especially BNP-Jamaat-led four-party alliance, have been vehemently opposing it and demand scrapping of the power.
The BNP-nominated candidates are Mohammad Shokrana of Bogra-1, Abul Khair Bhuiyan of Lakshmipur-2 and Selim Reza Habib of Pabna-2 and Jatiya Party candidates are Golam Habib Dulal of Kurigram-4 and AKM Maidul Islam of Kurigram-3, said officials who attended the EC meeting.
The EC also decided to open an investigation against Khair Bhuiyan, also former BNP lawmaker, as per the directive of the Supreme Court. Kabir Ahmed Bhuiyan, another BNP leader who fought for party ticket, challenged the returning officer's decision accepting Khair's candidacy on grounds of concealing information in his affidavit.
EC officials said the commission took the decision regarding the other four contenders on receiving allegations against them from reliable sources. They added EC did not decide who would be authorised to investigate the allegations.
Among the five candidates, Shokrana has already drawn much attention for his previous criminal records, some of which he did not mention in his affidavit.
This is the first time candidates had to file a set of particulars about them including police records with nomination papers.
The new electoral laws also empower the returning officers (ROs) to reject nomination if an applicant seeking candidacy conceals information in the affidavit. But the ROs cleared their candidacy during scrutiny.
At yesterday's meeting, EC also decided to challenge the court orders that have enabled the loan defaulters and convicted individuals to be candidates in the national polls, officials in the EC Secretariat said.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda has already talked to the Bangladesh Bank governor asking him to prepare for legal fights against loan defaulters who obtained court orders to become eligible to contest, sources say.
The EC will also challenge the Supreme Court order that allows Dhaka City Corporation Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka and some other municipality mayors to contest the election.
The EC in its decision earlier said mayors are not eligible to contest the parliamentary polls unless they resign from their current posts. Disposing a writ, the High Court upheld the EC decision, but the chamber judge of the Supreme Court stayed it.
Interestingly, all of the cases are set to be heard after the December 29 parliamentary election.

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