The High Court yesterday wanted a report on the salaries, allowances and others facilities given to Dhaka Wasa MD Taqsem A Khan in the 13 years since his appointment.
In response to a writ petition, the court ordered the chairman of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority to submit the report to it in 60 days detailing Taqsem's total gross salaries, performance bonuses, travel allowances and daily allowances, and all other benefits in terms of cash paid to him.
The HC also questioned the legality of Taqsem holding the position of managing director and CEO of Wasa, despite his failures, and being paid Tk 6.25 lakh as gross monthly salary.
The court issued a rule asking the government authorities concerned to explain why their inaction in removing Taqsem from the post of Wasa MD and CEO and in cancelling previous decisions increasing his salary in violation of the Service Order (Salary and Benefits), 2015 and the finance ministry notification issued in this regard should not be declared illegal.
In the rule, the HC also wanted to know why the respondents should not be directed to take steps to remove Taqsem from his position and to recover the excess salary paid to him illegally in the last 13 years. It also asked why they should not be directed to fix the salary and other service benefits of the holder of this post in line with the provisions of the Service Order (Salary and Benefits), 2015 and the finance ministry notification.
Secretary at the ministry of local government and rural development, board of Dhaka Wasa and its chairman, and Taqsem A Khan have been made respondents to the rule.
The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo passed the order and issued the rule following a writ petition filed by Mubassher Hossain, chairman of Consumers' Association of Bangladesh (CAB), on July 31 seeking necessary directive and rule on the issue.
Appearing for the writ petitioner, lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua told the HC that Wasa as a statutory authority cannot treat its officers and employees differently from other public servants, but Taqsem had been given undue benefits in violation of relevant laws and rules, even though he has failed to discharge his duties.
Around 70 percent of Dhaka city could not be brought under proper sewerage system because of Taqsem's failure, he said.
Jyotirmoy said the Ministry of Finance on January 26, 2016, issued a notification regarding fixing salary and other benefits of contracted employees in line with the National Pay Scale, 2015. However, authorities violated the notification's provisions while fixing the salary and other benefits of the Wasa MD.
Taqsem was made Dhaka Wasa MD in 2009. Despite severe criticism of his role in ensuring quality Wasa services, he was reappointed for a sixth term on October 1, 2020.
Opposing the writ petition, Deputy Attorney General Arobinda Kumar Roy told the court that a commercial contract has been made for the appointment of Wasa MD and his enhanced salaries have already been paid, so the writ petition challenging the legality of the issues is not acceptable.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Jyotirmoy said maximum basic monthly salary of an official of Taqsem's rank is Tk 78,000 under the service order and finance ministry notification.