B`desh HC appoints amicus curiae for opinion on Sircar

Last Updated: Friday, September 4, 2009 - 09:40

Dhaka: The Bangladesh High Court has appointed three "amicus curiae" or `friend of court` for expert opinion on the legality of formation of a parliamentary body to investigate graft charges against BNP lawmaker Jamiruddin Sircar.
A High Court bench comprising judges Tariq ul Hakim and Borhan Uddin made the appointments during the hearing on a writ petition by Sircar, also a lawmaker of main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, challenging the legality of the constitution of the parliamentary probe.

The parliamentary investigation committee last month suggested Sircar be striped off his membership as it finalised reports on graft charges against three opposition stalwarts including the ex-speaker.

Sircar in his writ claimed the formation of the committee defied the law and the parliamentary Rules of Procedure and it had no right to investigate allegations against him.

The court decision came after it heard arguments by the counsels for both the petitioner and the state on whether the High Court can issue a rule on a matter relating to Parliament as part of the writ hearing.

"We have prepared the report on the basis of our investigation . . . Parliament should enact new laws if necessary to implement the recommendations," to scrap Sircar`s membership, head of the probe committee and ruling Awami League lawmaker Fazle Rabbi said in a statement sending its report to speaker Abdul Hamid in early July.

But, he said, by means of its inherent power, the legislature could punish anyone for offences related to moral turpitude, provided there was no law in this regard.

According to report the probe body found documentary evidence of financial irregularities and misuse of power by Sircar, former deputy speaker Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui and former chief whip Khandaker Delwar Hossain.

The recommendations were finalised after Sircar and the two others declined to appear before the parliamentary committee defying its summons for self defence.

"I did not attend the meeting as they have not provided me with the papers to substantiate their corruption charges against me . . . How I can reply to the charges if I am denied the papers," Sircar earlier said.

Sircar reportedly cleared the medical bills of his own and Hossain ignoring financial rules as the then prime minister Zia declined to approve the medical bills while Siddiqui submitted a medical bill of Taka 1.21 lakh on returning home, and withdrew the money on his own.

Bureau Report



First Published: Friday, September 4, 2009 - 09:40

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