Dropping of 11 cases against Hasina on cards | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 03, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 03, 2009

Dropping of 11 cases against Hasina on cards

Public prosecutor finds 'political motive' behind them; recommends withdrawal of cases against a few other bigwigs

The metropolitan public prosecutor (MPP) is going to recommend withdrawal of the nine remaining cases against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the government law official has found that the cases were filed for "political harassment".
"I have examined the documents of the cases and found that those were filed with political motive to harass her [Hasina]. I will send my opinion in a couple of days for withdrawal of the cases," MPP Abdullah Abu told The Daily Star yesterday over telephone.
He has already suggested that the Meghnaghat power plant and Bepza corruption cases against the Awami League chief be dismissed as those were filed by the BNP-led government for "political harassment".
Of the 11 cases against Hasina, eight were filed during the previous BNP-led alliance's rule and the rest during the tenure of the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led caretaker government. Hasina was detained for around a year by the caretaker government in connection with the cases filed.
Abdullah Abu has also suggested withdrawing cases filed against a few political bigwigs, including Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, AL lawmakers Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, Engineer Mosharraf Hossain and Kamal Ahmed Majumder, and former AL lawmaker Mockbul Hossain.
Asked about the petitions filed by BNP chief Khaleda Zia and her two sons for withdrawal of 20 cases filed against them during the last caretaker government's rule, the MPP said he did not yet receive the documents of those cases. On receiving the case dockets from the Dhaka district magistrate, he will start examining those to make his opinion.
"I will recommend withdrawal of the cases if I find those filed for political harassment," said Abdullah, who was appointed the MPP by the AL-led government.
Former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who stands accused of corruption in four cases, was also detained for around a year during the caretaker government's rule.
A few corruption cases filed against Khaleda by the previous AL government were withdrawn during the tenure of the BNP-led alliance government.
Most of the cases Hasina, Khaleda and her two sons and a few political bigwigs are facing were filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on various charges including corruption and extortion.
According to the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1958, none of the cases filed by the ACC and currently under trial can be withdrawn without the consent of the ACC. So, the government move to withdraw "politically motivated" cases largely depends on the stance of the anti-graft watchdog, legal experts said.
Amending the act in 2004, the government empowered the ACC to withdraw cases it files. Before the amendment, the government held the authority to withdraw those cases.
Law Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday told The Daily Star that they would examine if the ACC's approval is required for withdrawing the cases.
When his attention was drawn to the provision, MPP Abdullah Abu said he is making his opinion exercising the authority of section 494 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). "The ministries concerned will look into the matter regarding the ACC's approval," he said.
The law minister, who is also heading the government-formed high-powered committee to review "politically motivated cases", said the committee is yet to convene a meeting. He said the home ministry would place the cases before the committee for review.
Since the government's move to review "politically motivated" cases, 1,100 applications have been submitted to Dhaka District Magistrate and Deputy Commissioner Zillar Rahman.
The district magistrate's office has started sending the applications to the MPP for his opinion on the merit of the cases. On receiving the MPP's opinions, the district magistrate is sending those to the home ministry for the next course of actions.

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