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April 18, 2004 

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Govt. seeks another time extension
The Supreme Court expressed dissatisfaction for delaying the implementation of its directives towards separation of the judiciary when the Attorney General sought a further extension of four months to do so. This is the 18th extension sought by the Attorney General since the court issued 12 points directives in its historic judgement in Mazdar Hossains case in 1999. The court advised the Attorney General to convey its sentiment to the Government. Highly embarrassed Attorney General AF Hassan Arif submitted that developments toward implementation of the court's directives were not communicated to him and pleaded for adjournment of hearing on the petition for two weeks. The court adjourned the hearing till 19th April but asked the Attorney General to come up with an affidavit citing specific reasons for seeking further extension. - The Daily Star, 14 April 2004

Moudud asks for suspension of policemen
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed asked the authorities to suspend the policemen who took an attempted murder case in which a 3-year-old child was implicated. The law minister rang up the home secretary and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the bizarre matter and asked them to suspend the policemen who took the case after newspapers ran reports on Wednesday 14th April. The 3 years old baby boy Iman Ali, accused in an attempted murder case filed with Sutrapur Police Station, surrendered before the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka on 13th April in his father's lap and prayed for bail. The sensational appearance drew hundreds of onlookers to the court premises, as the baby boy looked horrified at the court environment with lots of policemen, lawyers, journalists and litigants around. Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Towfiqul Alam, however, granted bail to Iman upon a bond of Tk 5,000 with two guarantors -- the father and one of his lawyers. The prosecution did not oppose the bail petition. - The Daily Star, 16 April, 2004.

Special court for money laundering on cards
The Government may setup special court for dealing with money laundering cases, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister said it on Tuesday, April 13th. He said the government is now taking opinions of all stakeholders to amend the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 to make it more effective and dynamic. Speaking at a seminar on "Anti-Money Laundering" which was organised by Citibank NA at a local hotel in Dhaka. He further added 'With the introduction of the anti-money laundering law, smuggling and narcotics business has decreased in the country.' Lauren Pickett, director Global Anti-Money Laundering Training at Citigroup also spoke at the seminar.- The Daily Star, 14 April 2004.

Health minister to face trial on graft charge
Health Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain is to face trial on corruption charges brought by the Bureau of Anti-corruption (Bac) in 1998. His petition for quashing the case pending with the lower court was dismissed by the High Court Division on Sunday 11th April. With its order the stay on trial process stands vacated. A division bench comprising Justice Sheikh Rezwan Ali and Justice AFM Ali Asgar pronounced the verdict discharging the rule after a lengthy hearing. Bac filed the case during the Awami League rule against Mosharraf who was minister in charge of Energy and Mineral Resources during the previous BNP regime. He was accused of awarding Tk 678.44 crore work to a foreign company for exploration of Baropukuria coal at Dinajpur without floating tender to accrue personal financial gains and thus caused a loss of Tk 16 crore to the state. Charge sheet was submitted to the court and the trial was on until the High Court Division stayed the process upon the petition for quashing the case. - UNB, Dhaka, 13 April 2004.

Baishakhi Mela row reaches Supreme Court
The High Court Division on 13th April directed the City Corporation to submit reports on the steps the corporation has so far taken to maintain and preserve the Dhanmondi playground in line with the Wetland Protection Act 2000. The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation had planned a seven-day Baishakhi Mela on the ground that begins from 14th April on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh. A division bench of Justice MA Matin and Justice Syed Refat Ahmed has asked the Dhaka City Corporation to say the action it has taken to remove unauthorised structures on the playground. The bench asked the City Corporation to submit the reports within 20 days on a writ petition filed by the Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan and the Institute of Architects Bangladesh for an injunction on the holding of the fair. But the court imposed no injunction on the holding of the fair, marking the Bangla New Year, on the ground, owned by the City Corporation. The industries corporation, however, did not take any permission from the city corporation. Holding such fairs on the playground is in violation of the Wetland Protection Act 2000. The Act does not allow any changes in the design and structure of any open space, playground, park and natural wetland in the metropolitan cities, district headquarters and municipal areas. Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan and the Institute of Architects on Saturday served a legal notice on the City Corporation, the Public Works Ministry and Rajuk to immediately stop the holding of the fair. The notice said holding fairs at such places is a violation of Section 5 of the act. The section bans use of playgrounds for any other purposes. The notice asked the authorities concerned to take steps by 2.30pm on Sunday 11th April. Paribesh Andolan and the institute will, otherwise, move to the High Court to seek redress under Article 102 of the constitution. The organisations filed the writ petition on Tuesday 13th April at the High Court as there was no move by the agencies concerned by the deadline. - New Age, 14 April 2004.


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