How many Basirs and Mizans do we have in ACC and the police?

Khandaker Enamul Basir, the dismissed director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), has been sentenced to eight years in prison and fined Tk 8 million in a bribery case, while former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Mizanur Rahman has been sentenced to three years in prison. Justice Sheikh Nazmul Alam of Dhaka Special Judge's Court-4 handed down the verdict on Wednesday. The verdict has exposed the face of the people involved in the two important agencies of the government, the police and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

It transpired that former DIG Mizan had resorted to a crime to cover up another crime. The ACC official Basir himself was corrupt, while supposed to be controlling corruption. According to the case statement, Mizan was removed from the post of Additional Commissioner of DMP in 2019 on charges of torturing a woman after marrying her forcibly. Four months later, the then ACC director Enamul Basir took the charge of investigating MIzan’s assets.

During the investigation, DIG Mizan claimed that the ACC official had taken a bribe of Tk 4 million from him. The investigation proved the bribery and the court sentenced the two to different terms. The punishment of the one who took the bribe has been extended due to the fact that the person who is supposed carry out justice has become the perpetrator or crime. The one who is responsible to nab the corrupt person is the one who tried to release the criminal in exchange of a bribe.

"The nation has been shocked by the bribery between two high-ranking officials of the two government agencies," the verdict said. But DIG Mizan did not seem remorseful after the verdict, no matter how shocked the nation was. He showed a 'victory' sign as he was taken from the courtroom in a police van. Such a response is not very unnatural from a person who has paid a bribe of Tk 4 million to cover up his crime. The former DIG said that the ACC has more such officials. It is not impossible to have more Mizans in the police department just as the ACC has more such officials.

The responsibility of the ACC is to take legal action against those involved if there is any allegation of corruption against them or if there is any evidence of corruption.

But in how many cases have they taken action? In the case of Basir, the agency did not file a case on its own initiative, but on the basis of the complaint of former DIG Mizan.

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When an ACC official has been sentenced to prison for accepting bribes, what is the state inside the organisation? Deputy assistant director Sharif Uddin was recently fired for investigating corruption. He was investigating the corruption committed by influential people and groups. He was fired without any opportunity to defend himself, while the agency brought allegations of breaching of law against him. Ten Supreme Court lawyers have also filed a writ petition seeking redressal against the ACC's decision.

The decision of the ACC will give the impression to the people that the agency is not interested in taking action against the corrupt. Instead, officials who will conduct drives against corruption will be harassed and sacked. And the other officials will be served with the message that the organisation is not for catching the corrupt, rather their main job is to follow the 'rules'. There is no doubt that this will further reduce the confidence of the people in the ACC.