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'DGFI Agent' Mahbub trashes Ashraf's claim

Edit Date:10/19/2010 12:00:00 AM

 Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Khandaker Mahbub Hossain yesterday countered Syed Ashraful Islam's statement that he (Mahbub) was a DGFI agent and said a number of lawyers, including some pro-Awami League ones, were panel solicitors of the military intelligence and received money from it during the last caretaker rule.

"The government has a list of those lawyers. Let it make the list public if it has that much courage," Khandaker Mahbub told The Daily Star.

The SCBA president said he was the sole president candidate of the pro-AL panel in the election for 2008. But all of a sudden DGFI halted the poll and made current Law Minister Shafique Ahmed a candidate.

"Why Barrister Shafique was made a contender all of a sudden sidelining me though he was not a candidate earlier?" he asked.

Shafique won 589 votes, while Mahbub came closest with 431 votes at the two-day voting that ended on April 30, 2008.

Mahbub said the intelligence force halted the election for a month sensing that he, if elected, would protest against illegal and unconstitutional power takeover by the caretaker government.

"I did not become a legal adviser of DGFI despite their repeated requests. If I were a DGFI agent, they would have worked for me in that election," Khandaker Mahbub added.

The SCBA president alleged that Syed Ashraf, staying in the UK or USA at that time, resorted to a conspiracy to hold a blue print election of the association to get Shafique elected.

He termed Ashraf's comments "indecent, irresponsible, condemnable and sad" from a responsible person who holds important portfolios in both the government and AL.

Ashraf would have to pay for the statements, Mahbub said.

Ashraf, Awami League general secretary and LGRD and cooperatives minister, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts made over phone.

He on Monday said, "After the 1/11 political changeover he [Mahbub] worked as a DGFI agent and during that time he ran for the president position of Supreme Court Bar Association and DGFI chose him for the post."

Even the intelligence force had done everything in its attempt to ensure his victory, he said.

He added had Mahbub won that election, parliamentary elections would not have been held and democracy would not have returned to the country.

The AL leader's statement on Khandaker Mahbub, also an adviser to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, came as the latter demanded that the government immediately go for an out-of-court settlement of the issue of Khaleda's cantonment house.

The SCBA in a protest letter to the press strongly condemned and protested Ashraf's statement.

In a press statement SCBA Secretary Mohammad Badruddoza said the association thinks the AL leader's statement is tantamount to tarnish the image of the association and undermine the highest court premises. He also urged the government's responsible persons to refrain from making such statements.

Contacted, Shafique Ahmed said what Ashraf said about Mahbub was right. "We have heard that he [Mahbub] was backed by DGFI in the Supreme Court Bar Association election when I was elected president."

"They [DGFI officers] told me that I am a lawyer of Sheikh Hasina and I cannot run for the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. As I did not agree with their view, they deferred the poll for a month.

"As they had information that I would win, they even called the then attorney general and asked him to stop the election.

"Please ask him [Mahbub] who backed him in that election and from which party he stood for the election?" added Shafique Ahmed.

Asked from which panel he contested the election after the pro-AL panel replaced his nomination with Shafique, Khandaker Mahbub said he became a candidate from pro-BNP panel.



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