Sylhet City Corporation mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury resumed his office Thursday afternoon, three hours after the Supreme Court cleared way for him to discharge duties.
Arif, also Bangladesh Nationalist Party central executive member and former president of the party’s Sylhet city unit, along with a huge number of party leaders and activists, reached the Nagar Bhaban from his Kumarpara residence around 3:30pm. Officials and employees of the Nagar Bhaban welcomed Arif with flowers as he reached there.
Stating that he had been suspended within three hours of resuming office on Sunday, Arif said that such kind of behaviour with an elected mayor was unexpected. ‘It goes against the people’s mandate,’ he remarked.
Then he sought cooperation of all quarters to implement development works in the city.
Clearing the way for Arif to resume office, SC chamber judge Syed Mahmud Hossain on Thursday noon dropped the hearing on an appeal petition from the list of the court activities after the additional attorney general had wanted to withdraw the petition, according to Arif’s counsel Abdul Hakim Kafi.
Earlier on Sunday, the Local Government Division had suspended Arif once again, hours after he resumed office after remaining suspended for 27 months for his alleged involvement in a 2004 grenade attack on a rally of former Awami League presidium member Suranjit Sengupta.
On Monday, a HC bench of justice Syed Mohammad Dastagir Hossain and justice Md Ataur Rahman Khan stayed the suspension responding to a writ petition filed by Arif.
On Wednesday, additional attorney general Momtaj Uddin Fakir filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking rejection of the HC’s order and the SC posted Thursday to hear in the petition.
Arif was elected SCC mayor on June 15, 2013. Later in July 2016, the Criminal Investigation Department of police added the names of nine persons, including Arif, in the supplementary charge sheets in two cases filed for the grenade attack that killed an activist of Awami League’s youth front Juba League and injured around 50 others at Derai in Sunamganj.
On November 13, 2014, Arif was indicted in two more cases filed for a 2005 grenade attack on a rally at Bayder Bazar in Habiganj, which killed former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria, his nephew Shah Manzurul Huda and three local AL leaders Abdur Rahim, Abul Hossain and Siddeq Ali and injured more than 50 people.
Habiganj chief judicial magistrate court sent Arif to jail on December 30 after he surrendered to the court filing a bail prayer in the two cases.
On January 7, 2015, the local government division suspended Arif from the mayoral post.
Arif was released from jail on January 3 this year after the HC granted him bail in all the cases.
Responding to a writ petition, the HC on March 13 adjourned the suspension order against Arif for 6 months and the Supreme Court on March 23 also upheld the HC verdict.
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