ACC needs to dig deeper into Rana Plaza case

The approval by the Anti-Corruption Commission of the case to be filed this week with the Savar police against 17 people over their alleged involvement in irregularities in the construction of Rana Plaza that collapsed on April 24, 2013 leaving at least 1,138 dead and two thousand more injured, mostly permanently, has raised questions. It has done so because, according to a New Age report on Friday, the 17 people accused do not include Sohel Rana, one of the key suspects in the incident although his parents, the architect of the building, the local municipal mayor and some other officials, and the owners of the apparel factories housed in the building were included.
It is widely known that Sohel Rana was a local leader of the youth front of the ruling Awami League. Moreover, he was well connected to the then local lawmaker, also belonging to the ruling party. And it was his political influence that largely gave indulgence to local municipality authorities in giving permission for the illegal extension of the building to 01 stories. More importantly, everything — having the architect design the building, the approval of the building’s plan and the construction of the building — was reportedly done under his direct supervision. The management of the building also reportedly lay with him. Without the political clout Rana enjoyed, it was hardly possible for one to use the building designed as a shopping mall for industrial purposes, something that, according to experts, significantly contributed to the collapse of the building. Allegations were also rife that it was Rana who influenced the owners to run their apparel factories in the building despite cracks had been spotted in a number of columns leading to its closure a day before the collapse and there being a country-wide general strike called by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies for the day, for understandable reasons.
Overall, the exclusion of Rana from the ACC case may lead to a public confusion about the commission’s seriousness of bringing culprits behind the collapse to justice. The commission top brass need to realise that public confidence in them, especially when it comes to dealing with corruption charges against ruling party men, has already hit rock bottom while people in general and the family and relatives the Rana Plaza collapse victims in particular have reportedly doubted getting justice. It is hoped that they will immediately dig deeper into the case to put Rana in the dock.

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