Fakhrul lashes out at Somoy TV for report on conviction of Khaleda, Tarique


Amidst several recent media reports quoting Transparency International Bangladesh’s Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman as saying that keeping Khaleda Zia and Tarique Rahman – sentenced by the court – in BNP’s top leadership “contradicts” the party’s 27-point outline for state reform, which includes stance against corruption, and is a sign of “moral decay”, BNP’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has lashed out at Somoy TV for “running a story” on the issue.

Featuring the BNP leader’s statement, Somoy TV today again relayed the earlier story — defending its position and justification behind the report which also included references to the testimony of a US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent in a money-laundering case against Tarique Rahman.

“That report on our leaders — Tarique Rahman and Begum Zia — is like back-stabbing our democratic movement against the government. As we continue our movement to restore democracy, they should abstain from airing such reports,” Fakhrul said about Somoy TV at a press conference.

While coming down hard on the TV channel, Fakhrul also admitted that “the channel is a mainstream news outlet and is accepted by people of the country as credible.”

Though the BNP leader claimed that no other news outlet except Somoy TV carried such report, a number of media houses, including Shomoyer Alo, UNB and Desh TV, featured the TIB executive director’s remarks on the party.

This development comes after a Somoy TV journalist filed a complaint against BNP activists for “assaulting” him when he was covering the party’s rally held in Nayapaltan, Dhaka on January 16, 2023.

Media being regulated with various laws: Fakhrul

The Somoy TV report that has seemingly drawn the ire of the BNP leader highlights that both Tarique Rahman and Khaleda Zia were sentenced by courts. A Dhaka court recently asked the police to confiscate all assets of BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman. The report also makes reference to the law on whether those convicted of corruption can participate in elections.

It also features the TIB executive director observing that BNP is talking about taking a bold position against corruption and at the same time running the party with convicts in top leadership.

The report mostly dwells on the fate of the party under the circumstances.

Referring to BNP’s 27 points, the TIB executive director had earlier wondered whether the party had the capacity to implement them.

“Considering BNP’s history and its experience with people of the country, it can be said that political parties make manifestos. When they come to power, the picture is different, however. In that sense, this is a wish list. Although, many of the issues mentioned are important for Bangladesh,” he said.

In November, 2011, an FBI agent testified in the Tk 20.41 crore money-laundering case filed against BNP chief Khaleda Zia’s son Tarique Rahman and his business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun. This was the first time that a US FBI agent testified before a court in Bangladesh.

Debra Laprevotte, a supervisory special agent of the FBI, narrated before a Dhaka court how she had tracked down the money allegedly laundered by Tarique Rahman and Mamun to a bank account in Singapore.

Khaleda Zia was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment by a special court in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8, 2018. She was convicted in a second corruption case later.

Mirza Fakhrul isn't the type to balk at reporters' questions. Except this one.

Amid the pandemic, the government suspended her jail term for six months through an executive order on March 25, 2020. The government extended her conditional release in the two corruption cases several times.

Source: United News of Bangladesh