Padma bridge: The ones who opposed it are enemies of state
The High Court has observed that those who opposed the Padma Bridge construction are enemies of the state and the nation, and they must be identified.
"The Padma Bridge is a national asset and our pride. If there was no conspiracy, why the financing for the bridge construction was stopped? Those who are against the Padma Bridge and such development are enemies of the state and the nation, and must be found out," the HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo said yesterday.
The bench made the observation during the hearing on a five-year-old suo motu (voluntary) rule on formation of an enquiry commission to identify the "culprits who made up false stories" about a corruption conspiracy involving the bridge project.
Earlier in the day, Khurshid Alam Khan, counsel for the Anti-Corruption Commission, told the HC that the commission had filed a case in 2012 against seven government officials, including former Bridges Division secretary Mosharraf Hossain, on charges of corruption in the project.
On September 14, 2016, the ACC submitted the final report to the lower court concerned, saying the charges could not be proved, he said.
Upon concluding hearing for the day, the bench said it would hold further hearing today and pass order on the matter.
On February 15, 2017, another HC bench issued the suo motu rule asking the government to explain in two weeks why it should not be directed to form an enquiry commission to identify the "culprits who made up false stories" about the corruption conspiracy and why it should not be ordered to bring them to justice.
The then HC bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Mohammad Ullah had issued the rule following media reports citing a Canadian court's decision to acquit all the three accused in a corruption conspiracy case involving the bridge project.
The World Bank, which was supposed to be the lead financier of the project at that time, raised the allegation in 2011 and eventually withdrew from the project.
Later, Canadian police sued some top officials of SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian construction firm that was vying to get picked by Bangladesh Bridge Authority as a consultant for the project.
On Sunday, Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik put forward a request to the HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo for holding hearing on the rule and its disposal.
Contacted, DAG AKM Amin Uddin Manik said various government agencies had held discussions on formation of an enquiry committee following the HC rule five years ago.