‘Suranjit Sengupta sets a precedent’
I appreciate Sheikh Monirul’s Islam’s sentiments about Suranjit Sengupta’s resignation (New Age, April 18). However, the resignation should be seen in its proper context.
Suranjit has offered no satisfactory explanation and has instead alleged a conspiracy by the opposition party. He should have demanded investigation of the matter by the Anti-Corruption Commission instead of saying it could act if it wished. He has harangued reporters when he volunteered to answer their questions. His resignation came after tremendous public pressure.
This is Bangladesh. The fact is that no one is surprised that such a crime was committed in a ministry. Rather we are surprised that such a crime came to light at all. It is doubtful that he would have resigned if there had not been such a tremendous public outcry. It is likely that he resigned to stop further investigation into his own affairs. Intriguing reports have already surfaced about his son’s wealth.
None of which should deflect from the fact that it is the prime minister who appointed this man to such important roles in government. The prime minister is hardly an innocent bystander to the failures of a minister appointed by her. Her silence does not help anything or anyone.
We all crave new precedents for this beleaguered nation. But our craving should not blind us to the definition of a meaningful precedent. In Bangladesh, one of the most corrupt countries in the world, hardly any government employee or politician, under any government, has faced trial for significant corruption. Many officials and politicians are very efficient and competent at corruption. They probably think the minister has let the side down.
A precedent has been set and it is not that a minister has resigned with nobility. The precedent that has been set is that the public and the media can, when united, force a resignation.
The minister may be proven innocent and may even be reinstated. But the man who applauds the minister’s resignation is also the man who will not sign a piece of paper saying there is no significant corruption in this ministry — or any ministry.
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