Businessman wants to withdraw graft complaint against Hasina


Dhaka : Bangladeshi businessman Azam J. Chowdhury has filed papers to withdraw an extortion case against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her cousin Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, saying he had complained due to “misunderstandings” and “under adverse circumstances”.

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Denying the charge that led to her being jailed for 11 months, Hasina, now on bail, has accused the current caretaker government of drumming up this and five other cases, including a murder charge, due to “political vendetta”.

She has said that Chowdhury was pressurised by the government to complain against her, The Daily Star newspaper reported.

The businessman, too, had said earlier this year that he admired Hasina and her father, slain president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Chowdhury said Sunday that he had submitted an application to the home ministry Saturday, seeking an executive order for withdrawal of the case through the court concerned.

Chowdhury, managing director of East Coast Trading Ltd, termed the filing of the case an undesirable experience for him.

“I’m withdrawing the charges as a matter of principle, and out of respect for democracy and fundamental rights. I hope this would put an end to all misunderstanding,” he told reporters.

Asked what he would do if Hasina sues for defamation, he said: “I’m confident she won’t do anything like that. As the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and a former prime minister, she is respectful to democracy.”

Queried if he is pulling back under pressure from any quarters, he replied: “Long before now I had said I didn’t file the case directly against Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana. They were implicated following Selim’s statement.”

Especially, he added, London-based Rehana’s name being on the charge sheet “is still a mystery”.

Rehana is here to assist elder sister Hasina in the campaign for the Dec 29 parliamentary poll.