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ACC admits its negligence behind Jahlam's ordeal

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Staff Reporter :
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on Thursday acknowledged that it was the mistake of its investigation officers who labelled Jahlam as Abu Salek, the real accused on the charge of misappropriating Tk 18.5 crore from Sonali Bank's Cantonment Branch.
The commission admitted it in an investigation report submitted in the High Court (HC) yesterday.
After hearing on the report, the HC bench of Justice F R M Nazmul Ahasan and Justice K M Kamrul Kader fixed July 16 for further hearing on the issue.
Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan appeared in the court for the ACC, while Advocate Amit Das Gupta stood for Jahlam.
On April 17, 2019, the High Court sought Anti-Corruption Commission's probe report on Jahlam, a jute mills worker, who passed three years in jail whereas the real accused was at large, to see who were responsible for his sufferings. To comply with that HC order, the ACC submitted the report prepared by ACC Director (legal) Abul Hasnat Md Abdul Wadud.
In the report, Abul Hasnat said, "In the overall consideration, I have found that the mistake of identifying Jahlam as Abu Salek has happened due to the investigating officers of the ACC. The officials of BRAC and other banks and introducers of the fake person of that particular account helped the ACC officers mislead them. But it was the duty of the investigation officers to submit the real story in the court."
Meanwhile, on March 5, 2019, counselor of the ACC told the High Court that the ACC was not responsible for Jahlam imprisonment.
A report was filed that day with the High Court on behalf of the ACC saying that the cases against Jahlam were filed on basis of documents received from Bangladesh Bank and Sonali Bank. The ACC has no jurisdiction to avoid the documents provided by the banks.
Jute mills worker Jahlam, who wrongly languished in jail since February 2016, was released on February 4 this year following an HC order after newspapers reported about his ordeal.
The ACC filed 33 cases against innocent Jahlam after labelling him as Abu Salek, the real accused on the charge of misappropriating Tk 18.5 crore from Sonali Bank's Cantonment Branch.
Recently, different media outlets reported that Jahlam was wrongly accused, after which the ACC investigated the matter further. Then the commission found the claim to be true.
The HC bench of Justice F R M Nazmul Ahasan and Justice K M Kamrul Kader on January 28 issued the Suo Moto rule asking the ACC and the government to explain as to why they should not be directed to compensate Jahlam for his wrongly suffering in jail for three years in connection with the ACC's cases.
During hearing on the rule on March 6, the HC bench said the ACC must take the responsibility for Jahlam not getting bail much earlier.
The court said, "The ACC should have taken the initiatives for the bail of Jahlam as soon as the organization came to know that he was innocent. Jahlam was repeatedly saying that he was innocent. Public Prosecutors knew that but they did not take any action. So, the ACC will have to take the liability for this."

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