Arrests on fake warrants discovered in BD24 January 2017 bdnews24.com
Trader Mahbubur Rahman was arrested by police in Noakhali and told he was wanted in a 2011 case filed under the Special Powers Act with a police station in Dhaka.
He was arrested on Dec 6 last year and produced before a Noakhali court, which promptly ordered him to Dhaka Central Jail. On Jan 17 this year, Rahman's lawyers petitioned for bail in the court of Dhaka's Sixth Joint Metropolitan Sessions Judge, which is supposed to have issued his warrant of arrest.
When the petition came up for hearing, it was discovered there was no warrant against Rahman as there was no case filed against him, his counsels Taherul Islam Towhid and Khairul Islam told bdnews24.com.
Judge Rehana Akhtar promptly ordered Rahman's release. In November last year, the same judge had let off Akmat Ali from Chandpur in a similar circumstance.
"The seal on the warrants against which they have been arrested are totally different from the seal of our court," Court Clerk Himel Karim told bdnews24.com.
What is worrying is that courts in Dhaka are often confronted with such situations-arrests made on the basis of fake warrants. In April 2013, police took a warrant for the arrest of poet and researcher Abdel Mannan in Dhaka. Paltan police's Sub-Inspector Kazi Abdullah Al Mahmud arrived at the house of Mannan's brother-in-law Abdul Latif in capital's Old Paltan to make the arrest.
Mannan was not home at that time. The SI took Mannan's number and said that he should contact the police station. Several other police officers then came to Latif's house, saying they were looking to arrest Mannan. When the family said they wanted to have a look at the warrant, the officers refused.
After Mannan told bdnews24.com of the incident, SI Mahmudur was asked to specify the case number and the court which was dealing with it. The police officer avoided the question at first, saying the matter 'could not be discussed' on telephone. Later, however, he provided the case number CR 418/2012, and the warrant was issued by the court of Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Hasibul Haque.
An investigation of the case registration book showed the case was over a dowry. None of the suspects in the case were named 'Abdel Mannan'. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Crime and Prosecution Department Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Anisur Rahman confirmed bdnews24.com that the warrant was a fake.
The signature and seal of Magistrate Hasibul Haque on the warrant was forged, said court official Mainul Islam when contacted about the situation. Farmer Abul Hashem, a resident of Shakuch village in Comilla's Chandina, spent 16 days in prison in 2010 after his arrest on a false warrant.
Chandina police were sent to arrest Hashem from his home by the Comilla Chief Judicial
Magistrate Court under the Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal's case number 62/2002. He was then transferred to prison in Dhaka.
After hearing of the incident, lawyer Md Habibur Rahman filed a petition for Hashem's release with the Dhaka court. Hashem was freed from the Dhaka Central Jail by Judge Md Rezaul Islam of the Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal 4 after the warrant was found to be a fake. The judge had also instructed the public prosecutor and other lawyers present at the hearing to take action against those responsible for such incidents.
An investigation found it was a corruption case filed by the now defunct Anti-Corruption Bureau with the Tejgaon Police Station in Dhaka. Hashem's name was not among the list of suspects. A fake seal was used on the arrest warrant, said the judge in Hashem's release order.
Almost every other day, reporters covering the lower court in Dhaka find relatives of victims arrested on fake warrants. Allegations have surfaced that some policemen, court employees and in some cases, lawyers and their assistants are involved in producing fake warrants. Lawyers Dulal Mitra and Belal Hossain, who practise at the Dhaka court, say that there have been 'hundreds' of such instances.
In 2012, an employee of the Dhaka's chief metropolitan magistrate court was caught while attempting to forward a fake warrant to the court's General Proceedings section.
He was arrested for fraud and remanded by the court. Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Prosecution wing official Deputy Commissioner Md Anisur Rahman could not be reached for a comment on this.
Criminal lawyer Aminul Gani Tito says 'personal enmity' is the reason behind fake warrants.
"As an act of vengeance, people in collusion with corrupt court employees or in some cases by forging judge's signatures produce fake warrants and forward it to the police."
Dhaka Bar's former president Md Borhan Uddin, however, said he believes the police's role is important in these issues. "Police have to be extra cautious on warrants. They have to crosscheck before making an arrest."
Lawyer Sanaullah Mia, also a former Dhaka Bar president, emphasised reform in police. "These instances will come down if the police are careful." The National Human Rights Commission's chief said it's the police who can stop these corrupt people. "Before making any arrest police should check whether the documents are proper," said Chairman Kazi Reazul Haque.