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Monday, 14 January 2008

Court frames charges against CCC mayor Mohiuddin Staff Reporter

A Chittagong special judge's court Sunday framed embezzlement charges against Chittagong City mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury and two others.

SM Solaiman, judge of Chittagong Divisional Special Judge's Court, framed the charges against the CCC mayor, former chief executive officer Imtiaz Hossain and chief engineer Moktar Alam in the Bijoy TV fund embezzlement case.

All three accused were present in court during a long session of arguments between defence and state counsel.

The judge set Jan 15 to start recording witnesses' testimonies.

State counsel Zahurul Haque told that some 30 people have been made witnesses in the case.

The case has seen the three accused of misappropriating city corporation funds.

Chowdhury, Hossain and Alam allegedly withdrew Tk 1.78 crore from the CCC funds, misusing Tk 1.70 crore of the money in connection with setting up the Bijoy TV channel, Haque said.

The accused returned only Tk 8 lakh prior to the submission of the case chargesheet, he said.

Defence lawyer Ibrahim Hossain Babul refuted the charges, saying the accused have now returned Tk 1.41 crore, and that the remainder would be returned soon.

Ibrahim further claimed the mayor had the right to withdraw money from the CCC fund to implement the Bijoy TV project, and had the intention of refunding the money.

The lawyer emphasised that Chowdhury and his co-accused had not committed a crime.

The defence counsel submitted a prayer to the court to have the charges dropped.

Haque, however, said the court must consider how much money was returned until the chargesheet was submitted, which was only Tk 8 lakh.

The CCC mayor said he was innocent of the charges levelled against him, and sought justice from the court.

Md Aref Siddiqui, Anticorruption Commission deputy director in Chittagong, filed the case on May 27, 2007 with Kotwali Police Station against the three.

Investigation officer and ACC assistant director Abul Kalam Azad submitted the chargesheet on Nov 21.

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