Case against Khaleda Zia meritless : ACC

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Dhaka, Oct 26 (UNI) Bangladesh Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), in its preliminary inquiry, found the allegations against detained former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia regarding two graft cases have ''no merit''.

The anti-graft body decided not to take into cognisance the charges against Khaleda Zia regarding the compensation for Magurchhara gas field blow-out and leasing out Phulbari coal zone to Asia Energy.

''As enough documents and evidence were not found for preparing a first information report (FIR) against the former Prime minister, the inquiry officer in his report suggested not to proceed further in this regard,'' ACC Secretary Mukhles Ur Rahman at a press briefing at the ACC headquarters said yesterday.

ACC Deputy Assistant Director Farid Uddin Ahmed submitted the report before Eid-ul-Fitr, saying no evidence or information was found to prove the allegations brought against Khaleda, the Daily Star reported.

''The commission does not proceed with allegations lacking merit,'' the ACC secretary added.

It was alleged that Khaleda played ''dubious'' roles in realising the compensation for the Magurchhara blow-out caused by negligence of US company Occidental in 1997 and leasing out Phulbari coal zone to Asia Energy. Her actions in these matters violated the law and the country incurred huge financial losses at the expense of benefiting a few individuals.

According to an investigation report on the Magurchhara blow-out, awarding of the gas blocks to Occidental itself was highly controversial. The blow-out on June 14, 1997 caused a loss of Tk 3,900 crore.

The ACC is also investigating into allegations of awarding gas fields to Niko Resources involving both the Bangladesh Nationalist Party Chairperson and Awami League Chief Sheikh Hasina. The commission is likely to publish the investigation report in November.

UNI

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