Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, one of the key accused in the Padma graft conspiracy case, on Thursday refuted all the allegations levelled against him, saying he would prove himself 'innocent' at the hearing of the case.
The former Bridges Division Secretary himself argued for his bail at the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate M A Salam in the case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission.
The bail plea, however, was rejected and he was sent to jail.
The court also ordered sending Superintending Engineer (River Training) of the Bridge Authority Kazi Mohammad Ferdous behind bars turning down his bail petition too.
Mirza Zahidul Islam, ACC Deputy Director and also the case's Investigation Officer, presented the two before the court following a seven-day remand.
The ACC official submitted at the court an investigation report on the case, filed with Banani Police Station on Dec 17.
The report mentioned that inquiries found 'important information' after confiscating laptops, computers of the accused. “Those will be scrutinised by IT specialists later,” it said.
Moving the court for bail, Mosharraf said: “I need no lawyer. I myself will argue for myself.”
Claiming that he was never involved in any graft during his 33 years in service, he said: The corruption allegation raised against me is completely false. I'll easily cause the case to be quashed during trial.”
He told the court: “I've all the World Bank documents with me right now. I can show you those.”
Seeking bail for the two accused, Shah Alam, lawyer for Ferdous said: “The lawsuit filed against the accused is baseless. It's a completely false case. There is no specific information (about corruption) against the accused.”
ACC lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol opposed the bail pleas and contention of the defence counsel saying: “There are specific allegations against the accused.”
Mosharraf and Ferdous first moved a vacation bench of the High Court for bail on Dec 26, a week after the case was lodged. The court, however, asked them to go to a regular bench with the pleas.
The two were arrested that day and the ACC secured permission the next day to grill them for seven days in remand.
Seven people have been made accused in the case for their alleged involvement in corruption conspiracy to award the consultancy job of the country's biggest infrastructure project to Canadian construction company SNC Lavalin Inc.
The other accused are Roads and Highway Department (Bridge Construction and Maintenance) Executive Engineer M Riaz Ahmed Zaber, Engineer and Planning Consultant Limited (EPC) Deputy Managing Director Mohammad Mustafa and SNC Lavalin's former Director (International Project Division) Mohammad Ismail and former Vice-presidents Romesh Shah and Kevin Wallace.
In September last year, the World Bank, lead financer of the $2.9 billion Padma bridge project, suspended its pledged $1.2 billion fund raising graft allegations. The Prime Minister and then Communications Minister Syed Abul Hossain denied the charges outright.
As the row continued, the Washington-based global lender finally pulled itself from the project in June this year saying it had got 'credible' evidence of a plot to exchange bribes involving high ranking government officials.
Ending months of speculations, the World Bank, however, returned to the project after three conspiracy suspects – Abul Hossain, Prime Minister's Economic Affairs Advisor Mashiur Rahman, also the Integrity Adviser in the project, and Mosharraf were removed from their positions.
Hossain was first transferred from the Ministry of Communications and later he quit the Cabinet while Mashiur and Mosharraf were put on leave.
A four-member ACC team, headed by its Deputy Director Abdullah Al Zahid, was formed to probe into the allegations.
Later, the government managed to strike a deal with the lender allowing its external panel of experts to oversee the ACC probe.
The WB panel, led by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor of International Criminal Court, visited Dhaka twice but its latest visit ended without the two sides' reaching any agreement.
Although the list of those sued by the ACC did not include Abul Hossain and Abul Hasan Chowdhury, former State Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1996 Hasina government, the graft-watchdog said they are under its watch.
Source: Bd News24