The High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed the government to confiscate all the movable and immovable properties of the owners of Rana Plaza and proprietors of five readymade garment factories housed in the ill-fated Rana Plaza at Savar. Sohel Rana is the owner of Rana Plaza, while the other four garment factory owners are Aminul Islam, owner of Phantom Apparels Ltd and Phantom Tex Ltd, Anisur Rahman, owner of Ether Tex Ltd, Bazlus Samad, owner of New Wave Bottoms Ltd, and Mahmudur Rahman Tapos, owner of New Wave Style Ltd.
An HC bench, comprising justice Mirza Hossain Haider and justice Md Khurshid Alam Sarkar, also asked the industry ministry’s chief factory inspector to prepare a list of risky buildings and factories and to shut those down immediately.
Earlier, on April 24, the HC bench issued a suo motu rule to produce Sohel Rana and the four garment factory owners before the court on Tuesday. Accoedingly, they were produced before the court.
The court also directed the inspector of general registration (IGR) to send a letter to all registrar offices in the country, so that the five accused cannot register, sell or transfer their assets. Besides, the HC directed the deputy commissioner (DC), superintendent of police (SP) and registrar (land) of Dhaka to implement the order and
submit a compliance report within 30 days.
The HC also ordered to freeze their bank accounts and submit the statements of their accounts before the court. It also directed the Bangladesh Bank to issue a circular to all banks asking them not to make any transaction.
The HC, however, said that the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) authority can withdraw money from their accounts to pay workers’ salaries.
The HC directed the authorities concerned to submit the compliance report before the court within seven days.
The court also told to form a committee, headed by nine infantry division GOC and comprising the DC of Dhaka, a DMP representative, a BGMEA representative, five representatives from five garment factories, a representative of BUET and reputed medical experts, financial experts and economists to make a list of the affected workers and assess the compensation package to be given for them.
The HC bench issued the directive during the hearing of a suo motu rule issued by it earlier, following the Rana Plaza collapse that left 389 dead and more than 2,500 injured.
During the hearing, attorney general Mahbubey Alam proposed Tk. 1 crore to be paid as compensation for each of the family.
He said that the government should collect Tk. 600 crore from the owners of Rana Plaza and four garments factories to pay compensation to the victims’ families. The government can get Tk. 300 crore from Sohel Rana, while the remaining Tk. 300 crore can be collected from the owners of the garment factories, he said.
Praising the chief law officer’s opinion, the court raised questions over the government’s action regarding the issue. During Tuesday’s hearing, the HC bench also lauded Dr Eunus Ali Akond, a Supreme Court lawyer, who filed a writ petition over the matter.
The HC bench also directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to submit a report within seven days on what legal steps the government has taken following the collapse of Spectrum building in 2005, Phoenix building in 1997 and fire in Tazreen Fashions Ltd in 2013.
-With The Independent input