Cases against leaders of BNP, allies
HC gives split orders, no harassment in 7 daysStaff Correspondent
A two-member High Court bench on Monday passed split orders on the bail petitions of 43 leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies in two cases of violence during the recent general strike.
Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, the presiding judge, granted bail to the leaders, including acting BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, till submission of the police reports in the cases, while Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder directed the petitioners to surrender to the Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in seven days.
Justice Nazrul also asked the police not to arrest or harass the 43 leaders in the seven days.
Justice Moyeenul issued a rule asking the government and the police to explain in a week in the arson case and in three weeks in the explosion case why the 43 leaders should not be granted regular bail in the cases.
Justice Nazrul, however, declined to issue the rule.
After the split orders, the presiding judge told defence counsels and the government that the bail petitions along with the split orders would be sent to the chief justice for a decision to assign a third judge to resolve the dispute.
Moudud Ahmed, the chief counsel for the defence panel, told reporters, ‘The leaders of BNP and its allies are now free until the third judge settles the issue.’
Twenty-eight leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance were accused in the case of blasting
two crackers in the secretariat and 44 leaders were implicated in the case of setting a bus on fire near the Prime Minister’s Office on April 29. Most of the leaders were accused in both the cases.
A total of 50 leaders of the BNP and its allies were accused in the two cases. Of them, 43 leaders filed the bail petitions, three had been remanded in jail custody and the rest four – Jamaat nayeb-e-amir Maqbul Hossain and two leaders of its student wing – did not file bail petitions.
Dozens of pro-BNP lawyers appeared for the leaders.
Moving the bail petitions, Moudud Ahmed argued that the ‘false cases’ were filed against the opposition leaders to ‘harass’ them ‘politically’ as they held top positions.
It is unbelievable that politicians like Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, MK Anwar, Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, Hannan Shah, Mirza Abbas and Gayeshwar Chandra Roy could damage buses by setting them on fire at night when there was no hartal, Moudud said.
The leaders surrendered to the High Court seeking bail as the police continued raids at their houses forcing them to stay out, Moudud submitted.
‘Under the circumstances, we fear the politicians may not be granted bail by the lower court, rather they may have to face torture in the name of police remand,’ Moudud said.
He mentioned that ailing BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and party leader Kamruzzaman Ratan had been arrested and the police sought their remand for interrogations, but the magistrate remanded only Ratan in police custody.
About the explosion case, Moudud said that the leaders were accused of supplying explosives to unknown people, so they were not prime accused.
‘We have committed no offence, so why should we surrender to the magistrate,’ Moudud said after Justice Nazrul observed that the petitioners should surrender to the lower court.
Additional attorney general MK Rahman opposed the bail petitions saying that the politicians should approach the lower court for bail.
MK Rahman, however, argued that BNP leaders Mirza Fakhrul Islam, MK Anwar, Khandakar Moshrraf Hossain, Hannan Shah, Sedeque Hossain and Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Liberal Democratic Party chairman Oli Ahmed and acting Jamaat amir Maqbul Hossain, who were named in the arson case as plotters, financers and abettors, were not accused at all as their names were not mentioned in the column of the accused in the first information report.
After the hearing, the senior judge of the two-member bench, Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, granted bail to the 43 leaders.
As Justice Nazrul Islam was about to pass his order dissenting from that of the presiding judge, the Supreme Court Bar Association president, Zainul Abedin, told the court that the people were getting wrong signals from the recent incidents of junior judges dissenting from the orders of their seniors.
‘As the president of the bar, I will request you to consider the sentiment of the bar, otherwise, the situation may go out of our control,’ Zainul said.
Justice Nazrul Islam then consulted his senior and started to pass his order.
During the hearing, Mirza Fakhrul, MK Anwar, Khnadakar Mosharraf, Hannan Shah, Mirza Abbas and Gayeshwar Roy, Sadeque Hossain, Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, Amanullah Aman, Fazlul Haq Milan, Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu, Habibunnabi Khan Sohel, Sultan Salauddin Tuku, Oli Ahmed, Shafiul Alam Prodhan, Sheikh Shawkat Hossain Nilu, chairman Andaleeve Rahman Partha, MP, who were among the accused, were also present.
The top leaders went into hiding after the filing of the cases on April 29.
Some of them took shelter at the lawyers’ chamber at the SCBA building on the holiday on Sunday as the police had cordoned all entrances to the Supreme Court since the filing of the cases.
On Monday, Moudud Ahmed mentioned the matter to the court which agreed to hear the bail petitions and verbally asked the law enforcers not to create any obstruction at the entrance saying that every citizens had right to appear in any court to seek justice.
Dozens of senior lawyers appeared for the BNP. But the court ordered lawyers who were not related to the case, to leave the courtroom packed with the accused.
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