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ACC's drama over Maya

Contradictory statements by officials about his JS membership

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Staff Reporter :Anti-Corruption Commission [ACC] officials have given contradictory statements over the Parliament membership of Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, Dhaka City Awami League General Secretary and Minister for Disaster Management and Relief.While ACC legal adviser Khurshid Alam Khan said that Parliament membership of Minister Maya would no more exist as per Article 66 of the Constitution, the ACC Commissioner Shahbuddin Chuppu said that there is no complexity to stay Maya as a lawmaker.Commissioner Chuppu, however, said that it was his personal opinion over the lawmaker's post."There is no legal bar for staying Maya as a lawmaker. The corruption case against him is under trial. And so, it is not possible to give any final decision about his Parliament membership before the case procedure ends," Chuppu said at ACC headquarters in the city on Sunday. Meanwhile, Chuppu's statement highly contradicted the statement of ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan given on June 24.Khan had said that Maya's Parliament membership should be void as per Article 66 of the Constitution. "The issue should be discussed inside and outside Parliament. After this order, he should not remain a minister anymore," he said.Minister Maya became centre of controversy when the Appellate Division in its full judgment said the High Court had not applied all its judicial mind in acquitting Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya from corruption charges."It [High Court] did not at all assess the evidence on record although the special judge on assessment of the evidence convicted the respondent [Maya]," the full judgment said. It also said that the High Court shall dispose of the appeal on merit.A three-member Appellate Division bench chaired by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha had delivered the short verdict on an appeal moved by the ACC on June 14. The court also sent Maya's appeal to the High Court for its rehearing and fresh disposal.Maya and six others of his family were sued on June 13, 2007, and the charges were pressed on October 25 against five of them. A special court issued arrest warrant against him on October 29. Trial proceedings began with the indictment of the accused on November 27 the same year.According to the charge-sheet, the accused amassed Tk 2.97 crore in assets beyond their stated income through corrupt means, when Maya served as state minister for shipping, concealing information on wealth of Tk 5.86 crore and keeping under possession properties worth Tk 6.29 crore.A special court tried him in absentia and on February 14, 2008 sentenced him to 13 years in prison, fined Tk 5 crore and also ordered the authorities concerned to confiscate his properties worth Tk 5.9 crore amassed illegally.The court, however, acquitted Maya's wife Parveen Chowdhury, two sons Sajedul Hossain Chowdhury and Rashedul Hossain Chowdhury, and Sajed's wife Subarna Chowdhury.Maya was sent to jail upon his surrender before a Dhaka court on May 20, 2009. He filed a petition with the High Court challenging the sentence on May 25.Following his appeal, the High Court bench of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore on October 27, 2010 scrapped the Lower court judgment and acquitted Maya of the corruption case.The ACC in 2011 appealed to the Supreme Court to scrap the High Court's verdict.

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