Delwar Hossain, indicted over the deadly blaze at the Tazreen Fashions garments factory a decade ago, has been appointed as president of the Awami Matsyajibi League's Dhaka North chapter.
Matsyajibi League attained the status of an associate organisation of Awami League during last council of the ruling party.
Although the criminal case continues to hang over him, Delwar was elected as president of the Dhaka Metropolitan North unit of the ruling party's affiliate organisation in May, drawing widespread criticism.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader also addressed the issue at a meeting marking the organisation's founding anniversary on May 22. "The controversy surrounding the Dhaka Metropolitan North Awami Matsyajibi League committee will be looked into."
But on Thursday, the organisation approved the appointment of Delwar as president and Abdul Jalil as general secretary of its Dhaka North unit. In a letter signed by its central leadership, Delwar and Jalil were directed to finalise an 85-strong committee and report back within the next 45 days, reports bdnews24.com.
Although Delwar does not take an active part in politics, he is close to the organisation's President Saidur Rahman, according to some Matsyajibi League leaders.
Asked why Delwar was named president despite the backlash, Matsyajibi League chief Saidur said, "Many people have held leadership roles while imprisoned. So what is the problem with Delwar being the president? Delwar's case is ongoing and the court will decide if he is guilty. Can we call him guilty before a verdict is delivered?"
At least 111 people died in the fire at Tazreen Fashions at Ashulia on the outskirts of the capital on Nov 24, 2012. A total of 984 workers were inside the factory when the fire broke out.
A case was later filed against the factory's Managing Director Delwar Hossain, his wife Mahmuda Akter Mita, and several other officials.
They were charged with culpable homicide and negligence under the Penal Code. Delwar was arrested after the incident, but was released on bail after a few years.