Tazreen Fire: HC asks for govt probe report on June 9

Staff Correspondent

The High Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction with the home ministry’s failure to submit the government’s probe report on the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions Limited in Ashulia on November 24 last year that had left 112 workers dead.
Expressing its dismay, the bench of Justice Quazi Rezaul Hoque and Justice ABM Altaf Hossain again asked home secretary CQK Mustaq Ahmed to submit the investigation report on June 9 without failure.
The bench also asked Tazreen Fashions owner and managing director Md Delwar Hossain, who appeared before the court on Thursday to comply with its May 19 order, to be present at the hearing on June 9.
Tazreen victim Rehana’s brother Abdul Matin on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate accusing Delwar Hossain and unnamed 20 men of killing workers in the fire.
After the hearing, magistrate Taibul Islam directed Ashulia police officer-in-charge (investigation) to submit a probe report on the matter by July 18.
Earlier on May 19, the High Court, in response to a public interest litigation, also directed the home secretary to submit to it the ministry’s report that had recommended that the apparel unit’s owner and nine others, including floor-in-charge and linemen, should be brought to book for the deaths of workers in the deadly factory blaze.
At the hearing on Thursday, deputy attorney general Biswajit Roy prayed for time to submit the government report. He also told the court that the government did not know the whereabouts of Delwar who immediately stood up in the courtroom.
He engaged no lawyer to defend him.
In the courtroom, Delwar told reporters that he was appearing voluntarily because a Criminal Investigation Department officer investigating the Tazreen fire case had asked him by phone to be present at Thursday’s hearing.
Delwar said why should he flee when he had more than a dozen garment factories and other businesses in the country.
He also claimed that he had already surrendered his passport to the special branch of the police.
Delwar also denied media reports that he was holding a Canadian passport. ‘I have not even applied for Canadian citizenship’, he added.
DAG Biswajit informed the court that the government, to comply with its May 19 order, had alerted all entry and departure points of the country so that Delwar could not flee.
Biswajit, however, said nothing about another order the court had issued on May 19 asking the home secretary and IGP to explain why they should not be asked to arrest Delwar Hossain by prosecuting him for committing homicides in the factory fire.
The writ petitioners’ lawyers BM Elias and Jyotirmoy Barua appeared in the court. The petitioners are anthropologists Naznin Akter Banu, Saydia Gulrukh Kamal and Mahmudul Hasan Sumon.
Elias prayed for a directive asking the home secretary to remain present in the court in the next hearing with the copy of the government probe report which was handed over to him on December 17, 2012.
He said that the home ministry probe report had found Delwar responsible for the factory fire, but the latter had not been arrested till date.
The government committee, led by additional secretary Main Uddin Khandaker, handed over the report to the home secretary and said that the probe had found that the fire was an act of sabotage.
In its 16-point recommendations, the probe body said that the government should take steps to operate mobile courts in the labour-intensive industrial belts to monitor work environment and make sure that the workers get wages in time.

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