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Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 12:42 UK

Bangladesh anti-graft chief quits

Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina had accused the commission of abuse of power

The head of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Bangladesh has tendered his resignation, officials say.

Hasan Masood Chowdhury, appointed by an army-backed interim government in January 2007, cited "personal reasons".

Over a two-year period his commission charged dozens of influential political and business figures.

One of those held was Sheikh Hasina, who won December's polls to become PM and who has since accused commission officials of abusing their powers.

Mr Chowdhury sent his resignation to the president, reports said.

Media say Mr Chowdhury will appear before reporters in the afternoon to talk about his decision.

Analysts say he had feared for the independence of the commission following the huge election win of Sheikh Hasina's Awami League party.

'Bribes'

The commission was given strong powers by the interim government to root out corruption.

It detained more than 150 people. Along with Sheikh Hasina, another former PM, Khaleda Zia, was held.

But most charges were dropped and the politicians released.

In February, Sheikh Hasina accused commission officials of abusing their powers. She said that the organisation should be reconstituted.

She accused it of harassing innocent people and forcing them to make false allegations. She also told parliament that some detainees had been released after paying bribes to anti-corruption officials.

Mr Chowdhury did not comment directly then on Sheikh Hasina's comments but he did say that the commission was not guilty of political manipulation and had always just been doing its job.

Some analysts said Sheikh Hasina was trying to steer Mr Chowdhury and his colleagues towards resignation as she did not have the power to reform the organisation herself.



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