Illegally Hoarding rice
Staff Correspondent: : The High Court (HC) has granted anticipatory bail to Square Group’s Managing Director Anjan Chowdhury for six weeks in a case filed over illegally hoarding rice in its godown in Dinajpur.
The bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Shahed Nuruddin passed the order yesterday (Monday) after hearing a bail plea filed by his lawyer.
The court also asked him to surrender before the trial court after the expiry of the bail period to face proceedings in the case filed with Dinajpur Kotwali police station.
Senior lawyers Barrister Shafique Ahmed and Barrister Mahbub Shafique moved for the Square Food MD in the court while Deputy Attorney General Sarwar Hossain Bappi represented the state.
Earlier on 31 May, food ministry officials and local administration seized at least 5,124 tonnes of
rice worth Tk 41 crore from six warehouses of Square Food and Beverage’s rice mill in Dinajpur Sadar upazila.
Acting on a tip-off, a team led by Dinajpur Sadar UNO Murtuja Al Muhid conducted the drive at the warehouses in Gopalpur Bazar of the upazila on that night.
During the drive, the team arrested one Zayed Hossain, in charge of the mill, in this connection and handed him over to the police.
Biplob Kumar Singh Roy, food controller of Dinajpur Sadar upazila, filed a case against Anjan Chowdhury, also the owner of Square Food and Beverage’s rice mill, and Zayed Hossain, in-charge of the mill, confirmed Officer-in-Charge Mozaffar Hossain of Dinajpur Kotwali police station.
“The company had permission to store only 312 tonnes of rice. However, they stored additional 4,812 tonnes of rice illegally,” said the UNO.
In the complaint, Biplob Kumar also mentioned that the mobile court does not have any jurisdiction to proceed with a trial that involves a massive amount of money. So the complaint was sent to the Kotwali Police Station for filing a regular case over the issue.
Barrister Mahbub Shafique later said, “The case has been recommended to file under Section 6 of the Control of Essential Commodities Act, 1956. It has been said there that rice is an essential commodity. So the law has been violated by stockpiling the rice in the warehouse.”
The lawyer further said, “The recommendation clearly stated that the rice stockpiled was aromatic. Aromatic rice is not an essential commodity.”
“Even Basmati rice is not an essential commodity. Since the aromatic rice which was found stockpiled in the warehouse is not an essential commodity, the plaintiff’s recommendation is illegal. As a result, the case cannot continue. As the case cannot be continued, Anjan Chowdhury is entitled to get bail in the case.”
According to the lawyer, Anjan Chowdhury will surrender to the concerned trial court within six weeks.
Hoarding by small traders and large business groups has been causing rice prices to soar, giving low-income people a hard time. The food minister recently said that six major industrial groups, Square, Pran, City, Akij, Bashundhara, and ACI, were mainly to blame for hoarding and the rice prices hike.
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