The High Court has ordered the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to place before it a probe report within one month on corruption that might have happened during printing of free books by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) for the 2019 academic year.
At the same time, the court has issued a rule asking why printing textbooks on low-quality papers would not be declared illegal.
The court has asked the secretaries of education, finance and primary and mass education ministries, the NCTB chairman and the ACC chairman to reply to the rule within four weeks.
A High Court bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the order on Tuesday after hearing a writ petition filed by Mobasher Hossain on behalf of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB).
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua moved the petition in the court, while Deputy Attorney General Tushar Kanti Roy stood for the state.
Following the High Court order, Barrister Jyotirmoy told reporters the Bangladesh Paper Mill Association made an appeal to the CAB regarding corruption allegations against the NCTB during printing free textbooks.
The consumer organisation then sent a legal notice to the NCTB but it did not give reply. Afterwards, the CAB filed a writ with the High Court, according to the lawyer.
"We have scrutinised the tender documents of the NCTB which had a clear guideline about the quality of papers. Later, we collected book samples from the market where we noticed the papers used in those books were of low quality," said the petitioner's lawyer.
"According to our estimate, around Tk107 crore has been embezzled during printing of the books for the 2019 academic year," Barrister Jyotirmoy added.