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Probe report terms Biman pilot’s travel sans passport an offence

Fazal may face six-month jail term

Published : Wednesday, 19 June, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 655

Although the Cabinet Division probe committee claimed in its report that Biman Bangladesh Airlines pilot Fazal Mahmud Chowdhury travelled to Qatar on June 5 this year to carry the Prime Minister without his passport 'by mistake', it also termed the mistake 'negligence' and 'contravenes the provisions of the Bangladesh Passport Order, 1973'. As the probe body was not given the responsibility to determine the punishment of the offence, it has not given any suggestion in this regards. However, it has mentioned the provisions of article 3 of the Bangladesh Passport Order and the punishments for contravening the legal provisions.
Probe body chief Nasima Begum, also Additional Secretary of Cabinet Division, on Tuesday confirmed  this.
The probe body on Sunday submitted its report to the Cabinet Secretary with the findings, which they found in its six-day investigation and interrogation of the officials and responsible persons.
Nasima Begum said they have given nine recommendations to prevent such incidents in future and improving the quality of services in the immigration centre at the country's airports.
Following the incident of passport less travel of Biman pilot Fazal Mahmud to Qatar on June 5 this year to carry the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Division formed the probe body on June 7.
Nasima Begum said they were given the responsibility to investigate the incident and submit its findings. Following the terms of references (ToR), the body has completed its probe and submitted the report with its findings.
During the investigation, the probe body talked with the officials concerned and the pilot about the incident. During the investigation, the probe found that the incident happened 'by mistake'.
"Although it was a mistake, the pilot cannot avoid his responsibility. The probe body identified the mistake as 'negligence in discharging his responsibility' and 'contravenes the provisions of article 3 of the Bangladesh Passport Order, 1973'. It was mentioned in the report," she claimed.
The article 3 of the Bangladesh Passport Order, 1973 said, "No person shall depart or attempt to depart from Bangladesh unless he holds a valid passport or travel document."
The provisions of punishments were mentioned in the article 11 of the law.
It said, "Whoever (a) contravenes the provisions of Article 3; or (b) knowingly furnishes any false information or suppresses any material fact with a view to obtaining a passport or travel document under this Order or without lawful authority alters or attempts to alter or causes to alter the entries made in a passport or travel document; or (c) fails to produce for inspection his passport or travel document (whether issued under this Order or not) when called upon to do so by the prescribed authority; or (d) knowingly uses a passport or travel document issued to another person; or (e) knowingly allows another person to use a passport or travel document issued to him, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to Tk 2,000, or with both."
According to the report suggestions, the pilot is responsible for the offence of contravening the provisions of article 3 of the passport order. For breaching the provision, he should be punished with imprisonment for a term of six months and penalty of Tk 2,000 or both.
At the same time, the Biman authority has spent thousands of dollars for sending the passport to Doha for bringing the pilot back and sending another pilot for carrying the Prime Minister back to the country. The incident has also damaged the image of the country abroad. The pilot should compensate for the losses of the country and the authority, the experts claimed.
When contacted, Civil Aviation and Tourism Secretary Md Mohibul Haque on Tuesday told this correspondent that he has also heard about submission of the probe report. But, he hasn't seen it.
"We haven't yet received the copy of the probe report. The authority will consider the recommendations of the probe body sincerely and necessary punitive measures will be taken after analysing the report," he added.

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