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Bangabandhu Novo Theatre scam case

ACC clears Sheikh Hasina

03 Feb 2015, 18:13 | updated: 03 Feb 2015, 18:20

The ACC on Tuesday cleared Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and others of the three cases in connection with Bangabandhu Novo Theatre (planetarium) scam. Photo: AFP

The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) on Tuesday cleared Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and others of the three cases in connection with Bangabandhu Novo Theatre (planetarium) scam.

ACC commissioner M Shahabuddin signed the proposals of final reports in all the three cases 11 days back.

After conducting the investigation into the allegations brought against Hasina and others, ACC deputy director M Manjur Morshed submitted his reports to the Commission with a recommendation not to submit charge-sheets against the accused in the cases.

Quoting ACC chairman M Badiuzzaman, ACC public relations officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said all the accused have been cleared of the charges as the ACC, during its investigation, did not find their involvement in the Bangabandhu Novo Theatre graft cases. 

On March 27, 2002, during the BNP-Jamaat alliance government, the now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption filed the cases with Tejgaon Police Station which were later transferred to the newly-constituted Anti Corruption Commission (ACC). 

The charges included spending much more money than needed on appointing consultants to the project and purchasing machinery, and constructing the building surrounding the country’s first-ever Planetarium.

Nearly a half decade ago, in March 2010, the High Court set aside all the three graft cases filed against incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with some of her Cabinet members over the construction of the Planetarium--Bangabandhu Novo Theatre.

In its judgment, the HC had declared illegal both the filing and proceedings of the cases and the ACC chairman’s approval of investigation and the filing of the charge-sheet of the cases by an anti-corruption officer, without following the due course of law.

It had also observed that appointing consultant and additional expenditure against estimated cost of the project, including purchase of instruments, do not constitute any offence as it was done through due process of the Rules of Business. 

Aiming to make people science-oriented ones, the Awami League government during (1996-2001) period built the Novo Theatre with most modern architectural looks in the capital where planetarium show, Ride Simulator, 3-D film show and some scientific exhibits are displayed.

The project was set up by the Ministry of Science and Information Communication Technology with an expenditure of over Tk 123 crore which was provided entirely from the state coffer.