POST TIME: 20 May, 2019 09:35:59 PM
purchase Anomalies in nuclear power plant
HC summons probe reports

HC summons probe reports

The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the government to submit by June 23 the inquiry reports of the housing and public works ministry on alleged irregularities in the purchase of furniture and other household products for officials and employees of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

It directed the attorney general’s office to collect the investigation reports prepared by the committees formed by the housing ministry and to submit them to the court by that date.

An HC bench, comprising Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Shohrowardi, passed the order following the filing of a writ petition on the matter.

Barrister Sayedul Haque Sumon, a Supreme Court (SC) lawyer, filed the petition on Sunday, seeking the court’s directive to the government to form a judicial committee to inquire into the allegations. The petition


alleged that huge sums of money had reportedly been spent to purchase furniture, pillows, and other household items for the officials and employees of the Rooppur plant. The petition also alleged that the salaries fixed for them were unusually high.

During yesterday’s proceeding, Sumon told the court that exorbitant prices were paid for furniture and other stuff. Following media reports, the public works ministry formed a probe body to investigate the matter. But Sumon argued that the public works department could not possibly investigate allegations that were levelled against it. Hence, a judicial inquiry was needed to find the real truth, he added.

Opposing his submission, attorney general Mahbubey Alam told the court that the housing ministry had already formed two separate inquiry committees to probe the reported irregularities. The HC should not interfere in the matter at this stage, he added.

The HC, then, directed the attorney general’s office to submit the probe reports by June 23 and kept the petition as ‘stand over’ till then. Following media reports, the government formed two probe committees—one under the housing and public works ministry and another under the public works department.

An additional secretary was made the head of the ministry’s probe team, while an additional chief engineer headed the department’s probe body, according to a statement issued by the public works ministry on Sunday.

According to the statement, the ministry does not have any connection with official activities and approval or appointment of project contractors. The ministry directed the contractors concerned to withhold all payments till the probe reports were submitted.

According to a media report that went viral on social media, the purchase prices of various household articles used for furnishing the RNPP project apartments were abnormally higher than market prices. The purchases were made to furnish 966 apartments constructed for the Russian engineers and officials working on the project.

The media report alleged that pillows were purchased at Tk. 5,957 each and the cost of transporting them was Tk. 760 each. An electric stove was reportedly billed at Tk. 7,747 and its transportation from the ground floor to the upper floors had cost Tk. 6,650. The purchase price of an electric kettle was said to be Tk. 5,313 and its transportation cost Tk. 2,945. A vacuum cleaner was reportedly purchased for Tk. 12,018 and transported upstairs at a charge of Tk. 6,650.

The report also claimed the price of an electric iron had been billed for Tk. 4,154 and its transportation cost was Tk. 2,945. A TV set had reportedly cost Tk. 86,970 and carrying it upstairs cost Tk. 7,698. A refrigerator also reportedly bought for Tk. 94,250 and its carrying cost was Tk. 12,521.