The High Court on Tuesday asked the government to form a commission to identify and probe the "conspirators" who raised false allegations of corruption in the Padma Bridge project, prompting the World Bank and other donor agencies to pull out of their funding.
"The court has given the concerned government authorities 30 days to form the inquiry commission. After formation, it will have 60 days to submit its findings to the court," Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik told The Business Standard.
Secretaries to the Cabinet Division, the ministries of home, law and communications, the inspector general of police and the Anti-Corruption Commission chairman were asked to carry out the directive.
The High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque passed the order following a hearing on a rule the High Court had issued five years ago in this regard.
AKM Amin Uddin Manik said, "The High Court did not mention or propose any name as the chairman or member of the commission."
"The court said, according to the Commissions of Inquiry Act-1956, the Cabinet Division secretary will take steps to form the commission by 30 days," he added.
Earlier on Monday, the HC bench raised the question that if there was no conspiracy then why the World Bank would suspend funding for the construction of Padma Bridge.
The court also remarked that those who conspired are anti-state elements and they have to be tracked down.
The same bench made the observations during a hearing of the rule asking the government why an inquiry commission should not be formed to identify the conspirers.
"Padma Bridge is our national asset. It is our pride. Those who are against the development of such national interests are enemies of the nation, enemies of the country. They need to be identified," the bench said.
On 15 February 2017, the HC issued the rule asking the cabinet, law, home, and communication secretaries, the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), and the inspector general of police to reply in two weeks as to why a commission of inquiry should not be formed.
The suo moto rule – issued by an HC bench comprising Justice Quazi Reza-Ul Hoque and Justice Mohammad Ullah – came as several national dailies had published reports on the plotters.
The World Bank and donors backtracked on financing the Padma Multipurpose Bridge project after allegations of corruption were brought against senior government officials and ministers, the court said, citing the reports, adding that it seriously hit the dignity of the nation.
The Anti-Corruption Commission and other agencies investigated the matter and found the allegations were false, it added.