6 officials not yet indicted in Rana Plaza cases

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Rozina Islam | Update: 12:09, Apr 23, 2015

 

The charge sheets in the two main cases concerning the incident of Rana Plaza collapse, have not been submitted as yet. Sources in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the body investigating the two cases, said that the main reasons for the delay is that they have not received permission to name six government officials in the list of the accused. Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse.

 

Five cases had been filed regarding the Rana Plaza incident. Charge sheets have been submitted in two cases, regarding firearms being recovered from the building. Charge sheets have not been submitted in the case pointing to negligence as the cause of deaths in the Rana Plaza collapse and the case regarding violation of the RAJUK building construction regulations. Garments industry worker Jahangir Alam’s wife Sheuli Akhter filed another case with the Dhaka chief metropolitan magistrate’s court, terming the deaths in the incident as murder. At the order of the court, CID is investigating this along with the charges of negligence. Sheuli is now a witness in the police case.

 

When Rana Plaza collapsed on 24 April 2013, a total of 1135 persons died. The number of injured was 1524. Of them, 844 were critically injured. And 291 bodies of the workers could not be identified.

 

Additional inspector general of CID police, Sheikh Hemayet Hossain, told Prothom Alo that the reason for the charge sheets being delayed was that there were many organisations involved in the incident. He said, investigations in the two important cases were near completion. They were trying to submit the charge sheets within May.

 

When asked if it would be difficult to submit the charge sheets as they did not have permission to name government officials as the accused, the CID additional IG said, even if that approval is not given, CID will be able to submit the charge sheets. There is no legal obstruction to that. The court will take the next steps.

 

However, public administration secretary Kamal Abdul Naser, told Prothom Alo, “As we have not given our permission, CID cannot name our officers in their charge sheets.” He said, “We are looking into the matter. How can we give permission for persons to be accused if they haven’t committed any serious crime?”

 

The six government officers in this regard are, former  UNO Kabir Uddin; Mohammed Yusuf Ali and Shahidul Islam, deputy inspectors of the department of inspections for factories under the labour ministry;  MA Jamshedul Rahman, joint labour director of the Dhaka division department of inspection for factories; Belayet Hossain, project director of the industrial relations institute (IRI) in Tongi, under the labour ministry; and Rajuk’s building inspector Aulad Hossain.

 

Labour secretary Mikail Shipar told Prothom Alo, they are not guilty under the labour laws and do not have any liabilities in this connection. That is why permission has not been given to name them among the accused.

 

The labour ministry had named these eight officers among those responsible for the incident. The police investigated the matter and asked permission to include four of them in the criminal case.

 

The seven officers against whom permission has been given to name as accused, are chief executive officer of the pourashava Uttam Kumar Roy; executive engineer of the pourashava Rafiqul Islam; deputy assistance engineer Rakibul Hasan; assistant engineer Mahbubur Rahman; town planner of the pourashava Farzana Yasmin; former municipal mayor of Savar Refat Ullah; and former ward councillor Mohammed Ali. According to the law, people’s representatives are also considered government employees.

 

Home ministry sources said, the draft charge sheet has accused 43 persons in the incident, including the main proprietor of the building Sohel Rana and his parents. So far 22 of them have been arrested. The labour, public works, pourashava and RAJUK officials have not been arrested.

 

Charges: The charges brought about against the accused include duplicity in the building design, constructing floors outside of the original design, use of sub-standard materials, failure to supervise the work, sending the workers to their death by not taking any precautinary measures despite being aware of the risks, forcefully coercing them into work, sheltering the criminals and helping them escape.

 

Among the 43 accused, three are owners of the building, five are owners of the garments factories, and 13 are government officials. The others are officers and employees of the building and the garments factories.