ROME, Feb 14, 2018 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said corrupt and terrorist elements are destined to be exposed to justice after proper investigations while she did not allow withdrawal of graft cases filed against herself without scrutiny after assuming as the premier.
"We want to bring a peaceful environment, we want to develop the country and change the peoples lot which will be possible when "we could uproot corruption, militancy and nepotism," she told a reception staged in her honour by expatriate Bangladeshis in Italy last night.
Sheikh Hasina said corruption cases also were filed against her in the past but as she asked for investigation into every case and submit its report as she was clear to her conscience.
"I had said that investigation will have to be conducted and report of every case must be submitted ... we want to see what the merit of the case was?" she said.
Accordingly, Sheikh Hasina said, investigations of every case were carried out and their reports were submitted suggesting her incorruptibility.
"I didn't withdraw any case and I didn't allow it ... why will I do it as I knew that I didn't commit any graft," said Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League at theat Parco dei Principi Grand Hotel and Spa here as the Italy chapter of her party organized the reception.
Awami League and its associate bodies leaders spoke at the reception chaired by Awami League's Italy chapter president Hazi Mohammad Idris while Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali were on the dais, among others.
Sheikh Hasina pointed out the allegation of the World Bank regarding the construction of the Padma Bridge but eventually it was proved in the Canadian court that no corruption took place in the project.
Sheikh Hasina said Hilary Clinton was the US Secretary of State at that time and Dr Muhhammad Yunus was desperate to put a bad name on her regarding the Padma Bridge project.
"The US State Department threatened my son thrice in this regard . . . I had said I didn't come to power to commit corruption ... I have come to power for changing the fate of the people not ours," she said.
The premier said Bangladesh's judiciary was fully independent and BNP chief Khaleda Zia's graft charges were proved in the court.
"When the court saw that the orphans' money was completely embezzled by the BNP leader, it tried her and gave the verdict," she said.
She said it was entirely unjustified to blame her and wage an anti- government movement regarding the court verdict as the case was filed by the past caretaker government which assumed office declaring emergency rules, which too was due to misdeeds of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government.
The premier said the last caretaker government assumed office and declared emergency due to misdeeds of the BNP-Jamaat alliance government as they "unleashed terrorism and militancy, committed corruption and created Bangla Bhai and in such a situation, we saw the emergency".
Sheikh Hasina said the case in which Khaleda Zia awarded the punishment was filed by her favourite personalities General Moin U Ahmed, Fakhruddin Ahmed and Iajuddin Ahmed.
"Not Awami League, they (the trio) had lodged the case against Khaleda Zia for her corruption," she said adding the case was filed in 2007 and its activities started the following year and continued for the subsequent 10 years.
She recalled that the court had set 236 days for hearing but Khaleda Zia appeared before the court for only 40 days as she tried to obstruct the trial process.
The premier said BNP's desperate attempts also saw the change of court thrice while she nearly two dozens of writs to halt the trial.
"When the court punished Khaleda Zia despite her (ill) attempts to delay the trial, then BNP is arguing that what was the necessity to punish her for such a small amount of money," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the money that embezzled Khaleda Zia and others was brought for the orphanage. "But the money went to their personal fund instead of the orphans," she said.
The premier said the BNP leaders are saying that money was increased to over Taka three crore from two crore. "But what the benefit the orphans got from it," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said when the case was filed, Barrister Rafiqul Haque had said at that time that the case will be withdrawn if Khlaeda Zia pays the money "but she (Khaleda Zia) didn't leave the love for the money".
The prime minister said there was much more value of Tk two crore as four flats could be purchased at that time and it was the reality.
"But Khaleda Zia didn't leave the love for that money and now she is caught for possessing the money of the orphans," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the BNP leaders and some "so called intellectuals" were saying that why this case was filed for such a small amount of money.
"Should there be a ceiling of money to commit corruption legally and a case could be filed for exceeding the ceiling, otherwise not ... do the BNP leaders want it?" she asked.
The premier said the government had nothing to do regarding the court verdict against Khaleda Zia and "if we had a bad intention we would not have allowed the case to continue for a long time. We could have interfered when we came to power in 2008," she said.
Regarding the BNP's ongoing movement for cancelling the verdict, Sheikh Hasina said it was the BNP which kicked on the door of the chief justice.
"The BNP has a habit to buy everything through money or kick on the door of the judges and carry out repression on them ... we know it," she said.
Sheikh Hasina the BNP can demand that they could commit corruption up to certain amount of money and they can file a writ in this regard. "Then what will happen in the money laundering case of Tariq Zia in which the FBI had given deposition against him," she said.
The prime minister came down heavily on the past BNP government for committing unbridled corruption and unleashing terrorism and militancy, saying that they could not serve anything to the people, rather they wanted to cling to power.
Sheikh Hasina also mentioned the BNP's mayhem and mindless violence in the country from 2013 to 2015 in the name of the anti-government movement.
She said the BNP killed Ivy Rahman, Shah AMS Kibria and Ahsanullah Master as well murdered numerous leaders and workers of the Awami League when it was in power from 2001 to 2006.
She said Khaleda Zia whitened her black money that she amassed through corruption and Bangladesh became champion in corruption for five consecutive years when they were in power.
The prime minister elaborated her government's impressive achievements in different sectors including agriculture, education, health, ICT and diplomacy.
Responding to various demands of the expatriates, Sheikh Hasina recalled their huge contribution to the country's economy by sending remittance.
"They are making lion's share contribution to increasing foreign currency reserve," she said.
Sheikh Hasina also spelled out her government's steps for ensuring welfare of the expatriates and ""We will restart the Biman flight on Dhaka- Rome route if it's profitable".