Inquiries that were begun against at least 13 BNP leaders just before the last general election by the Anti-Corruption Commission are now on its back burner.
The dubious enthusiasm shown by the ACC on the eve of the general election further dashed its credibility.
The ACC had also served notices on some of the BNP politicians and interrogated them before the election but pushed the matter under the carpet immediately after the polls.
ACC officials said that they had initiated inquiries at least against 13 BNP leaders, mostly policymakers of the main opposition.
On September 4, four days before the Election Commission announced the schedule of the general election, the ACC began an inquiry against BNP acting chairperson Tarique Rahman alleging that he was involved in money laundering.
On April 3, 2018, the ACC launched inquiries against eight top BNP leaders, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, vice-chairmen M Morshed Khan, Abdul Awal Mintoo, joint secretary general Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel and executive committee member Tabith Awal.
ACC said that it launched the inquiries after receiving allegations from ‘an unknown person.’
Immediate after the inquiries were kicked off, the ACC in separate letters requested the Bangladesh Bank to provide their bank statements and summons some of them to face interrogations.
In May this year, after facing ACC interrogations Abdul Awal Mintoo and his son Tabith Awal told reporters that the inquiries against them were held to serve political purpose of the ruling Awami League.
Though the rules require an ACC officer to complete an inquiry in 30 days, the inquiries against the BNP leaders were left where they were a year ago.
Asked for his comments, Transparency International, Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman told New Age at that time that if the ACC ‘serves the interest of any political quarter it was bound to face criticism.’
On Thursday he said that the ACC would lose credibility if it functions with ‘political motives’.
He said that the delay in disposing of high-profile inquires indicated that the ACC was being used as ‘a political tool which is very unfortunate.’
When asked about the inquires ACC secretary Mohammad Delwar Bakth on Thursday told New Age that the commission never initiated any inquiry with political motives.
He said that completing the inquiries got delayed for various reasons and that the commission chairman already asked the inquiry officers to complete their pending inquiries and investigations as soon as possible.
Former caretaker government advisor M Hafizuddin Khan told New Age that he was of the view that either the ACC realized that harassment of opposition politicians should be stopped or the political authorities lost interest in the
inquires after the general election.
He said that people never expected such mysterious ACC behaviour.
Former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder told New Age that ACC should complete the inquiries and the outcomes should be made public.
He said that the ACC should avoid non-transparent activities.
He also said that the political authorities should not interfere with ACC’s activities.
Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said, ‘the ACC had begun the inquiries against us only to harass us before the general election as prescribed by the Awami League-led government.’
He said that one should not be surprised if the ACC gets active against BNP if we begin a movement for the restoration of democracy.’
In 2018, the commission also initiated inquiries against former BNP MPs Kolim Uddin Ahmed, Asadul Habib Dulu and Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu.
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