116 Islamic speakers: ACC to decide on enquiry after review of ‘white paper’
The Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday said it is reviewing the "white paper" that named 116 religious leaders and Islamic speakers for their "involvement in laundering money, funding militancy and spreading communal hatred".
"After the review, the commission will take measures ... no decision has been made for launching an enquiry," said ACC Secretary Mahbub Hossain yesterday at a press briefing at the ACC headquarters, hours after some media outlets reported that the anti-graft body is enquiring into allegations against the 116 religious leaders.
On May 11, the People's Inquiry Commission on Fundamentalist and Communal Violence -- widely known as Gono Commission -- submitted the white paper titled "2,000 days of Fundamentalist and Communal Violence in Bangladesh" to the ACC.
The 30-member commission was formed in February last year comprising members of the Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous and Minorities and the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee.
The commission on June 21 issued an order, a copy of which The Daily Star obtained.
"Decision has been made to give approval to an enquiry into the allegations through a three-member team of special enquiry and investigation -- Director Sayed Iqbal Hossain, Deputy Director Mohammad Ibrahim and Deputy Director Ahsanul Kabir Palash and send it to the director general (special investigation) to take necessary measures for enquiry," read the order.
"Following the decision, therefore, the attached files are sent for taking measures after the enquiry of the allegation," it added.
However, ACC Secretary Mahbub Hossain denied it at yesterday's briefing.
"The Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee has recently submitted a 2,215-page white paper to the ACC. An internal committee was formed by the ACC to prepare a summary of the white paper ... the committee is not given any responsibility to enquire into the financial transaction of religious leaders," said an ACC press release issued after the briefing.
"Moreover, no decision was made for carrying out enquiry," it said, adding that the statement would put an end to confusion in this regard.
Although Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at the launching of the "white paper" termed it eye-opening, he later changed his stance.
On May 20, he said there was no legal basis for the commission and its report.
"I don't know what the Gono Commission has written in its report. Therefore, we cannot say anything about it," Asaduzzaman said.
Three days after his statement, religious leaders under the banner of Islamic Cultural Forum Bangladesh submitted a memorandum requesting the ACC to enquire into the wealth of the Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee and its members.