Bangladesh Chief Justice faces 11 charges, including graft

AL leaders Ill motives behind CJ’s statement

In Bangladesh, the government has accused the country's Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha of indulging in serious crimes, including corruption. In a written statement issued before his departure, Sinha said he was a "bit anxious about the independence of the judiciary", expressing dismay over criticism he has faced from the government over the August ruling on judicial dismissals.

He also rejected an earlier claim by Law Minister Anisul Huq about his sickness while his leave application to President Abdul Hamid was being processed. A statement issued on Saturday, signed by the court's Registrar General Syed Aminul Islam, contained the allegations against Mr. Sinha.

The statement referred to a previous meeting between the five Appellate Division judges and the Chief Justice over the alleged corruption.

The statement said that the written statement that Sinha supplied to journalists on Friday night before his departure was confusing and the Supreme Court had issued this statement to clarify the matter. Bangladesh's top bar association has repeatedly said Sinha was being forced to take leave.

He urged the judges to work sincerely and with honesty in order to uphold the image and dignity of the judiciary. If there is any truth to the allegations, cases will be filed against him and it will be investigated.

Prior to his departure to Australia, the chief justice said that he was in good health and would resume office once her get back to home from overseas.

Mr Sinha, however, added the way a "political quarter, lawyers, and especially some honourable ministers of the government and the honourable prime minister are criticising me recently over a verdict embarrassed me".

The dispute grew in the subsequent weeks as several senior government leaders virtually attacked Mr Sinha over his comments, blasting the government for its reaction and gave Pakistan's example where ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was stripped of his premiership under an apex court ruling.

"It's now clear to the entire nation that the government has taken all the steps to send the chief justice overseas by force", he said.

A reliable source in the apex court, told The Daily Star that the meeting is scheduled to be held around 4:00pm at the Judges' Lounge of the Supreme Court with Justice Md Abdul Wahhab Miah in the chair.

At one stage of a long discussion, the president handed over documentary evidence over 11 specific allegations against the chief justice, said the statement. They included allegations regarding "money laundering, financial misappropriation and moral lapses".

After Justice Imman Ali returned home, the five judges held a meeting on October 1 to discuss the 11 allegations and chose to notify Justice Sinha about those. But he informed that he would come up with his final decision on the following day. Later, on October 2, he sought a one-month leave from the President, who granted the holiday from the next day, it said.

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