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HC asks govt

Why Padma Bridge 'conspirators' not identified yet

By bdnews24.com
03rd-Aug-2017       
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The High Court is livid with the government for not acting on its order to identify those behind an alleged conspiracy to block the Padma Bridge project.
On Wednesday, the court ordered the authorities to form a committee or commission to investigate the 'conspiracy' surrounding Bangladesh's biggest infrastructure project and submit a progress report within Aug 31.
The bench of Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Mohammad Ullah heard a rule issued on Feb 15 following media reports on the alleged conspiracy.
In the rule, the judges had asked the authorities why the court would not instruct the government to form a committee or a commission to find out the 'conspirators' in keeping with the 1956 Inquiry Act and other related laws.
The World Bank raised a stink over alleged corruption in the execution of the Padma Bridge project and suspended funding.
Bangladesh was forced to withdraw funding request and is now implementing the project with its own resources.
A case was started at a Canada court against SNC-Lavalin, accusing the company of bribing Bangladeshi officials to secure contracts in the Padma project in 2010-11.
After a long process, the Canadian court acquitted the three employees of Canada-based SNC Lavalin in January, and the verdict was published in February.
The High Court then issued the rule for tracking the people who made the 'false graft allegations' over the project.
In March, the court gave the authorities until May 9 to respond to the rule. It granted the authorities several more extensions later.
At the hearing on the rule on Wednesday, the court said, "The legislating wing was given a letter in May. Why did we have to give two reminders then? We don't know what they do.
"We want execution of our order," the court said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has maintained from the very beginning that the allegations were part of a conspiracy and claimed some Bangladesh nationals were involved in it.
Addressing the parliament recently, she accuses Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus of using then the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton for disrupting World Bank funding.
The editors of two national newspapers were also blamed for the conspiracy.

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