We didn’t try to poison Sheikh Hasina: Former officials

July 5th, 2009 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, July 5 (IANS) Advisors of Bangladesh’s former caretaker government have denied the charge that they were responsible for serving ‘poisoned’ food to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina when she was in jail and have demanded a fair probe.
Hasina’s current health advisor, Syed Mudassar Ali, repeated the charge levelled a week earlier by deputy leader in parliament Syeda Sajeda Choudhury. He claimed that Hasina, who served a year in prison on graft charges, was served ‘poisoned’ food aimed at her slow death.

Major general (retd) M.A. Matin and Mainul Hosein, who served as advisors in charge of home and law, respectively, in the military-backed government (2007-08), Saturday denied the charge.

The issue has snowballed into a controversy.

The Daily Star newspaper Sunday urged the prime minister to ‘restrain’ her colleagues from making unsubstantiated charges.

Alluding to the current swine flu epidemic in a commentary, it called the statements result of “mouth-flu”.

“What the opposition is failing to do, some ruling party leaders, ministers and advisers are achieving for them, namely making the government controversial,” the newspaper said.

Hasina’s ministers were talking at cross-purposes and contradicting each other on many issues to get media and political mileage, the newspaper charged.

Both Hasina and former prime minister Khaleda Zia were jailed during 2007-08.

However, the charge of being served poisoned food has surfaced only now when the role of the caretaker government is being questioned.

There is no reaction from Zia or anybody close to her on the way she was confined in prison.

Hasina’s present health advisor has charged that he was not allowed to examine and treat her on many occasions when she was in jail. He has also named senior jail authorities of that time.

Former officials have asked why the advisor took so long to make the charges and why was Hasina herself silent during her stay in the US for medical treatment last year.

Prior to being served to Hasina, the food was tasted by a lady doctor attached to her and her four women security personnel, besides jail officials, the former officials have said.

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