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HC questions Feroz’s JS membership

Staff Correspondent

The High Court on Monday asked the Election Commission and chief whip ASM Feroz to explain in four weeks the legality of holding the office of a lawmaker by Feroz despite being a ‘loan defaulter.’
The bench of Justice Salma Masud Chowdhury and Justice Habibul Gani passed the order after hearing a quo warranto writ petition filed by former Bauphal mayor in Patuakhali Md Ziaul Haque.
The law ministry, the parliament secretariat, the Election Commission, Credit Information Bureau of Bangladesh Bank, Sonali Bank Limited, its foreign exchange branch deputy general
manager, M/s Patuakhali Jute Mills Limited managing director ASM Feroz, also lawmaker for Patuakhali 2 parliamentary constituency were asked to reply to the ruling.
Petitioner’s lawyer Rafique-ul Huq argued that Feroz borrowed Tk 1.20 crore from the Sonali Bank’s foreign exchange corporate branch in 1989 mortgaging his M/s Patuakhali Jute Mills Limited to run the mills.
Before regularisation of the loan on November 27, 2013, the company owed about Tk 28 crore with interest to the bank, Rafique said.
He argued that Feroz had got the limit of the loan increased and the loan renewed and rescheduled on eight occasions in violation of the banking rules by misusing his political power.
Rafique said that according to the law, a loan could be rescheduled only for thrice.  
Just before the elections, the Sonali Bank board of directors decided to exempt Feroz from paying over Tk 13.51 crore in interest on November 4, 2013, Rafique said.
He contended that the decision was made two months before the January 5 elections only to drop Feroz from the list of loan defaulters in order to allow him to contest the polls.
Among major conditions set by the bank board of directors, Rafique said, Feroz was required to pay Tk 1.50 crore as down payment to meet his bank liability within one month.
Rafique argued that Feroz should have not been allowed to contest the elections as he was a loan defaulter till November 26, 2013.
Showing the Credit Information Bureau report, Rafique contended that loan of Feroz’s company was regularized on November 27, 2013.
Feroz could be eligible to contest the elections if he had have his name dropped from list of loan defaulters by the Credit Information Bureau by November 24, 2013, seven days ahead of the submission of the nomination paper on December 2, said Rafique.
He contended that Feroze had no legal authority to hold the office of a lawmaker.

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