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Money laundering case

Magistrate Court can grant bail: HC

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Staff Reporter :
In a majority view, a larger bench of the High Court on Thursday said that the lower court could grant bail to the accused persons in money laundering cases in accordance with the law.
The HC, however, said that the lower court should dispose of the cases carefully as an important issue like money laundering is involved with the cases.
The HC also ordered the Magistrates to scrutinize all the documents, including information reports of the cases, statements of plaintiff and defence sides and related laws before disposing of such cases.

The larger bench of the HC comprising Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal in a majority view passed the observation while disposing of a Suo Moto rule issued by the HC earlier that questioned the bail granted to two former high officials of AB Bank in a money laundering case involving Tk 165 crore.
Two members of the HC bench Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice M Enayetur Rahim upheld the lower court order that granted bail to M Wahidul Haque, former Chairman of AB Bank, and Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal, the bank's former Head of Financial Institutions and Treasury.
However, the junior member of the bench Justice Md Ashraful Kamal disagreed with the majority verdict and cancelled their bail.
The junior judge also ordered the former bank officials to surrender in the lower court within a month.
In his part, Justice Md Ashraful Kamal said that though Special Court has power to grant bail and remand to the accused under special laws, but the Magistrate Court had granted bail of the former bank officials without exercising its judicial power. Hence, their bail was cancelled with order to surrender in the lower court concerned, the court said.
He also said that the people should be aware of corruption. The government should play its strict role against the corruption. The court should also be aware of the corruption.
After the HC order, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told reporters that the lower court could grant bail for those accused who were facing money laundering cases under special law following the High Court order as the majority order would be maintained.
In response to a query, he said that the commission would decide about filing appeal after getting the full copy of the High Court verdict.
A Dhaka court on January 25 this year granted bail to M Wahidul Haque and Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal within few hours after they were produced before it in connection with a money laundering case filed against them.
On January 31, a two-judge HC bench led by Justice M Enayetur Rahim issued the Suo Moto rule asking the government, Anti-Corruption Commission, Wahidul and Abu Hena to explain as to why the bail granted by the lower court to Wahidul and Abu Hena in the case should not be cancelled.
The bench also issued a travel ban on Wahidul and Abu Hena.
After issuing the Suo Moto rule, the HC bench sent the matter to the Chief Justice for his decision.
Later, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain constituted the larger High Court bench for disposing the rule that questioned the bail granted to two former high officials of AB Bank in a money laundering case involving Tk 165 crore.
After hearing on the rule, the HC bench yesterday delivered the verdict with the observations.
ACC Assistant Director Gulshan Anowar Pradhan filed the case against eight people, including AB Bank's former Chairman and two Managing Directors, with Motijheel Police Station on charge of laundering around Tk 165 crore.
The ACC on January 25 arrested Wahidul, Abu Hena and businessman Saiful Haque, three of the eight accused, in connection with the case.
After they were produced in a Dhaka court, it granted bail to Wahidul and Mostafa, but sent Saiful on a three-day remand.
The other accused in the case are M Fazlur Rahman and Shamim Ahmed Chaudhury, ex-Managing Directors of AB Bank; Mohammad Lokman, the bank's Head of Offshore Banking Unit; Mohammad Mahuz Ul Islam, its Vice-President of Corporate Treasury Department; and Nurul Azim, its Senior Vice-President.

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