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Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed SiddikyBNP on Tuesday stripped standing committee member Chowdhury Tanbir Ahmed Siddiky of his primary membership, virtually ending his three-decade political career.

"He has been relieved of all party posts, including standing committee membership and primary membership," office secretary Rizvi Ahmed said, announcing the policymakers' decision.

"The decision was made in line with the party constitution," Rizvi said, emerging just before 10pm from an on-going meeting of the standing committee.

The meeting, chaired by Khaleda at her Gulshan office, from just after 7pm to around 11:45pm, discussed the fate of the senior BNP figure, who had been widely tipped to pay for his son's profligacy.

Chowdhury Irad Ahmed Siddiky, his 38-year-old son, alleged at a news conference last week that BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia had asked for Tk 5 crore in return for his party nomination for Dhaka mayor.

Tanbir was present during the widely-publicised news conference, but later sought to defend saying the son's youthful exuberance was to blame. Tanbir himself had phoned news reporters to invite them to the event.

The following day, he called them again trying to repair the damage. He told reporters that the charge his son made against the chairperson was false and baseless.

Tanbir told bdnews24.com earlier Tuesday: "I am upset. Such a statement tarnished the party's image. I condemned the statement."

But it was too late. The standing committee was far from convinced.

A former state minister for commerce during the regime of General Ziaur Rahman, Tanbir and his son have always bragged about their ancestry.

An heir to a Boliadi-based minor royal family, Tanbir was president of FBCCI in the 1970s.

Son's allegation

At the Mar 9 press conference, the father's longstanding political allies also came under fire from the "American-educated" son.

Irad called incumbent mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka, and former mayors BNP's Mirza Abbas and AL's Mohammad Hanif "all corrupt", who "failed to deliver".

He also called the BNP chairperson's adviser, ASM Hannan Shah, the "'bastard' child of democracy".

He said none among Khoka, Abbas, Hannan and former FBCCI chief Abdul Awal Mintoo—likely BNP picks for the mayor race—was acceptable.

Hannan Shah last Sunday filed a Tk 50 crore defamation suit against Irad.

The allegations also sparked off angry protests among party leaders and activists, who had demanded Tanbir's expulsion. Party supporters had also burnt effigies of Tanbir and Irad in demonstrations.

BNP notice to father

The standing committee in a meeting on Mar 10 had given Tanbir 72 hours to explain why any action should not be taken against him for breaching discipline.

Tanbir replied to the notice last Friday that was placed in Tuesday's meeting, said BNP joint secretary general Nazrul Islam Khan.

"I explained all in my written statement," Tanbir told bdnews24.com.

Irad gets bail

Meanwhile, the High Court granted Irad two-month anticipatory bail Tuesday in the defamation case filed by Hannan Shah.

Irad surrendered to the court just after 2pm, after an arrest warrant was issued against him on Sunday in connection with the case.

Source: bdnews24.com

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