BNP has alleged that the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) recently-launched investigation into eight of its leaders is just another attempt of the government to weaken the opposition before the 11th parliamentary elections in December.
According to several senior and mid-level leaders, the government is using the ACC to frame these eight leaders, all the while reviving old violence-related cases against BNP supporters in an attempt to gag the party.
The ACC move has proved that the Awami League-led government is doing everything it can to disrupt BNP’s movement for its incarcerated Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s release and a polls-time impartial administration as well as the election campaign, they claimed.
After Khaleda’s conviction and jailing in a corruption case in February, the BNP leaders alleged, the government is now desperately trying to tarnish the image of these eight leaders with the anti-graft watchdog’s money laundering investigation.
The ACC on Monday started investigating allegations of money laundering and illegal amassing of wealth against BNP Standing Committee Members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Mirza Abbas, Nazrul Islam Khan, and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, as well as Vice-Chairs Abdul Awal Mintoo and Morshed Khan, Joint Secretary General Habib-un-Nabi Khan Sohel, and Executive Committee Member Tabith Awal, son of Mintoo.
[caption id="attachment_256790" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Clockwise: Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Abdul Awal Mintoo, Nazrul Islam Khan, Tabith Awal, M Morshed Khan, Habibun Nabi Khan Sohel and Mirza Abbas Collected
On Tuesday, Khandaker Mosharraf told reporters that the allegations were brought against him and the seven others to defame them and the party’s image, and it was a part of “foul play” by the government to mislead people and weaken BNP.
“The allegations are a part of the government’s blueprint. This is nothing but a baseless, false, fabricated and politically-motivated campaign to malign BNP,” he alleged.
He claimed Awami League was either trying to keep BNP fully away from the election or they want a weakened BNP during the polls.
The ACC on Wednesday also sent letters to seven banks asking for account statements of the eight BNP leaders who have allegedly made questionable bank transactions of Tk125 crore in one month.
Also Read- ACC seeks bank statements of 8 BNP leaders
Moudud Ahmed, another member of BNP’s highest policymaking body, at a program in the National Press Club Wednesday said the ACC at the end might not file any case as the charges were baseless and fabricated, but the harm would already be done by the time they stop as such accusations would still taint the images of the accused and the party.
He said BNP had instituted the ACC so that it could keep an eye on corruption in government, among its officials or anyone, but Awami League has turned the commission into its partner. “And now it does whatever the current government says.”
Mamun Hasan, organizing secretary of Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal’s Dhaka north metropolitan unit, said the ACC was now investigating those leaders who are playing vital roles in organizing the movement and keeping the party united.
“These are the names that inspire our people to be a part of BNP. This probe will affect the morale of the supporters, organizational activities and the election campaign,” he said.
Also Read- BNP: ACC bank transaction probe is foul play
Several leaders of BNP and its affiliate organizations also alleged that the government was having other law enforcement agencies revive old cases against their leaders and activists.
Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal General Secretary Abdul Quader Bhuiyan Jewel said local leaders of the organization were living in fear of being arrested in both old and new cases.
This situation would disrupt their plans for the campaign for the national polls, he said.
Many grassroots level leaders of BNP and its various wings, afraid of being framed by any case, reportedly have already gone into hiding to avoid arrest, Jewel said.
He also accused police of putting the names of opposition leaders and activists in the list of “unnamed accused” in various cases intentionally. “This is just narrowing the chances of a free and fair election,” he added.
Former BNP lawmaker Abdul Wadud Bhuiyan also said the present scenario was suggesting that the government would not let BNP chief Khaleda out of jail in time. “Even if they do, she will only be released after BNP is weakened in the ruling party’s eye.”