Bangladesh's Election Commission on Friday launched the much-delayed door-to-door enumeration to update the voters' list required for the parliamentary polls, amid charges that it had misused funds allotted for the task earlier.
The autonomous poll body has hit back by saying that it had spent part of the Taka 430 million ($7.16 million) on a process that was aborted, under the government's instructions.
Commission secretary Abdur Rashid Sarkar cited instructions from the law ministry.
Law Minister Moudud Ahmed has been one of the critics of the Election Commission and its procedures.
"It is unfair to hold the Election Commission alone responsible for the wastage of money," Sarkar was quoted by The Daily star as saying at a press briefing.
"As per rules, the Election Commission sought opinion of the law ministry and the attorney general. On receipt of their suggestions, the commission continued preparing a fresh voter list and published a draft of it," he said.
The finance ministry, while reportedly releasing funds for the immediate task on hand, has however insisted on a report on how the previous funds were spent.
The updating of voters' list was aborted and Chief Election Commissioner MA Aziz termed the process "not practicable".
The Supreme Court was approached by the opposition and the apex court directed that day-to-day enumeration must be undertaken. The enumeration began Friday.
The 14-party opposition alliance has ridiculed the controversy as "a new drama", aimed at vitiating the poll atmosphere and to facilitate what its leader and former prime minister Sheikh Hasina calls "election engineering".