Nine years ago, 1,134 garment workers were killed when the Rana Plaza (eight-storey commercial building) collapsed in Savar, near the capital. At least two thousand more were injured. Two cases were filed under the Murder and Building Construction Act at the time in this horrific accident. Six years ago, the court framed charges in the two cases and ordered the trial to begin.
However, the proceedings have not progressed much. All the accused except the building owner Sohail Rana are out on bail.
Testimony in the murder case began on January 31 this year, six years after the charges were framed. The plaintiff in the case, Wali Ashraf, the then Sub-Inspector (SI) of Savar Police Station, testified in court. Defendants’ lawyers ended his interrogation on April 17. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for May 29.
Some of the accused in the District and Sessions Judge’s Court have applied for revision in the building construction law case. Among them, the court acquitted Muhammad Aminul Islam, chairman of Phantom Apparels Limited. The accused in the case, the former mayor of Savar municipality. On November 8 last year, the High Court adjourned the case for one year on behalf of Refatullah. As a result, testimony did not begin even six years after the allegations were made.
When the Rana Plaza building collapsed on April 24, 2013 at around 9 am, five and a half thousand garment workers were crushed under it. The bodies of 1,134 people were recovered in the accident. At least two thousand more workers were injured and maimed. Two thousand 438 people were rescued alive from under the rubble.
Sub-Inspector (SI) of Savar Police Station Wali Ashraf filed a case alleging negligence in the construction of the building and culpable homicide. On April 26, 2015, CID Assistant Superintendent of Police Vijayakrishna filed a chargesheet against 41 people, including Kar Bhavan owner Sohail Rana. 594 people were called as witnesses in the case. Among the 41 accused in the case, building owner Sohail Rana’s father Abdul Khaleq, Abu Bakkar Siddique and Abul Hossain died. Excluding these three, there are currently 36 accused in the murder case.
On July 17, 2016, Dhaka District and Sessions Judge SM Quddus Zaman framed charges against the accused.
Building construction case
In the same incident, the building construction did not comply with the law, said the officer in charge of RAJUK. Helal Uddin filed the case at Savar police station. On April 26, 2015, CID Assistant Superintendent of Police Vijayakrishna filed a chargesheet against 18 people, including Sohail Rana, owner of Kar Bhaban. 130 people were called as witnesses in the case. On June 14, 2016, Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate Mostafizur Rahman framed charges against the accused. The court is currently scheduled to testify in the case. So far no one was able to send in the perfect solution, which is not strange.
The notable accused in these two cases are Rana Plaza owner Sohail Rana, mother Morzina Begum, former commissioner of ward no. . Refatullah, former CEO of Savar Municipality Uttam Kumar Roy, Executive Engineer Rafiqul Islam, former Assistant Engineer Mahbubur Rahman, former Deputy Assistant Engineer Rakibul Hasan Russell, former Town Planner of Savar Municipality Farzana Islam, License Inspector Md. Abdul Mottalib, former secretary of the municipality Morzina Khan, former secretary. Abul Bashar, Phantom Apparels Limited Chairman Muhammad Aminul Islam, New Web Bottoms Limited MD Bazlus Samad and Ether Tex Limited Chairman Md. Anisur Rahman.
Regarding the murder case, state counsel Bimal Samaddar of Dhaka District and Sessions Judge’s Court said, ‘Testimony in this case has started. The prosecution is keen to settle the case expeditiously. However, the lawyers of the accused are delaying the judicial proceedings of the case. Even then, hopefully, the judicial process can be completed quickly. ‘
Regarding the case filed under the Building Construction Act, state counsel Anwarul Kabir Babul said, “Testimony could not be started as the judicial proceedings of the case were suspended in the High Court. If the High Court withdraws the stay order of the case, we will be able to start taking evidence in this case. ‘
Defendant’s lawyer Farooq Ahmed said, “Testimony in the murder case has started six years after the charges were framed. Testimony did not begin as the case under the Building Construction Act was adjourned in favor of one of the accused. The prosecution should immediately settle the case and start proceedings. ‘