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Yunus challenges removal from Grameen in High Court

March 03, 2011 14:37 IST
A day after he was sacked as the chief of the Grameen Bank, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus on Thursday challenged his removal in the High Court.

"We have filed a writ petition against the Bangladesh Bank order relieving him from the post of Managing Director of the Grameen Bank," his lawyer told PTI.

A two-member High Court bench comprising judges Momtaz Uddin Ahmed and Gobinda Chandra Thakur will take up the case later today.

Bangladesh Central Bank in an order on Wednesday removed Yunus, a celebrated micro-financier as head of the Grameen Bank, which he founded, citing that he had violated country's retirement age.

The government owns 25 per cent stake in the Grameen Bank, while the rest is held by borrowers. A leading Supreme Court lawyer Kamal Hossain would appear on behalf of the 70-year old Yunus.

"It is a legal affair and I have come to discuss it," Yunus told newsmen after he consulted Hossain late after receiving the order of his removal.

The micro-financiers firing caps a running battle with the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in recent months, during which he has faced a defamation suit by a local politician alleging that he misappropriated
Norwegian development funds and accusations that he was overage.

A Central Bank official had said, he had been stripped off his position as his appointment violated the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983 that stipulates a Managing Director must be appointed with prior approval of the central bank.

According to the ordinance, Yunus was serving as a whole-time officer and the chief executive of the Bank. Hasina and Yunus recently had a verbal dual when the micro-financier suggested that he should form his own political party.

Following this tiff, Hasina accused the Nobel laureate of treating the Grameen Bank as his personal property and claimed that the group "was sucking blood from the poor".

The development came two days after the 70-year old Nobel Laureate apparently was exposed to a fresh trouble on retirement age issue as the central bank in a letter to the government reportedly said he was flouting Bangladesh retirement rules by serving as head of his Grameen Bank.

According to media reports Bangladesh Bank in a letter to the finance ministry had said that Yunus had passed the retirement age of 60.

Anisur Rahman in Dhaka
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