Govt unaware of legislative secretary’s secret meeting

Staff Correspondent | Published: 02:03, Jan 14,2020


Holding a meeting with an Indian diplomat in Dhaka by legislative and parliamentary affairs division secretary Naren Das, keeping his ministry in the dark about the parley and its agenda, has stirred the government. 

Naren Das accompanied by a joint secretary of his division on Sunday evening held a meeting over a dinner at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon in the city hosted by deputy high commissioner of India Bishwadip Dey where they, as claimed by the secretary, discussed ‘mutual cooperation on legal and legislative issues between the two countries’ at round 7:30pm.

But neither his minister nor the officials concerned of the foreign ministry were aware of such bilateral meeting held outside the office, said several officials concerned. 

‘This was beyond my knowledge. The government officials cannot hold such a meeting with foreign diplomats without informing the ministry,’ law minister Anisul Huq told New Age on Monday.

He said the officials attended the meeting had transgressed the code of conduct warranting departmental actions.

‘I have already instructed initiating actions against them,’ said Anisul, a lawyer-turned politician.   

Asked for comment, Naren said he did not inform the minister about the meeting since ‘it was a preliminary discussion on mutual cooperation on legal and legislative issues between the two countries’.

He said there was a training programme with India to enhance capacity of the officials, but it remained suspended since 2016.

‘It was just a preliminary discussion over all these issues where officials from Supreme Court Registrar General Office were also present,’ the secretary added.

When contacted, joint secretary Kazi Arifuzzaman, who also accompanied the secretary, said the meeting was arranged through diplomatic channel and it was an informal one.  

A senior official at the foreign ministry said the government officials could not arrange such meeting of bilateral issues without the consent of the ministry.

‘Foreign ministry definitely did not arrange any such meeting,’ the official said.

More about:

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email