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MP Haji Selim refused bail, sent to jail in graft case

23 May 2022

Court Correspondent :
Dhaka-7 MP Haji Mohammad Salim, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail in a graft case filed in 2008, surrendered in a Dhaka court while the court sent him to the jail rejecting his bail plea yesterday.
Judge Shahidul Islam of the Seventh Special Judge's Court of Dhaka passed the order on Sunday.
Salim's layers appealed that he may be granted division in the jail as a member of parliament. The judge ordered that the decision on whether to grant division should be taken in line with the prison code.
The defense lawyers petitioned for Salim's bail while Advocate Mosharraf Hossain Kajol represented the ACC and opposed the bail plea. The defense also demanded
proper medical treatment in the jail, saying that Haji Selim had lost abilitky to speak due to bleeding in the head. They submitted two other petitions: one for providing Salim proper treatment and another to provide him first class division facilities in the jail. The prosecution did not raise any objection on these two petitions.
Selim arrived in the court premises by car at 3 pm and large number of his supporters and party activists came to the court a few hours before his arrival. On the occasion additional police were deployed at the court gates and the nearby area. Later, he surrendered in the court of Special Judge Court-7 at 3:22 pm.
Earlier on February 10 this year, the High Court released the full text of a verdict directing Salim to surrender to the trial court within 30 days in the graft case.
The High Court on March 9 last year upheld a lower court's verdict where Salim was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a corruption case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission during the military-backed caretaker government in 2007. It also upheld a fine of Tk 10 lakh imposed on the lawmaker for amassing wealth worth Tk 14.65 crore beyond his known sources of income.
The apex court, however, scrapped another part of the lower court's verdict delivered in 2008 which handed three years' imprisonment to Salim for concealing information about his wealth to the ACC.
On April 27, 2008, the Special Judge's Court-7 of Dhaka convicted Haji Salim and sentenced him to a total of 13 years' imprisonment over two separate charges brought in the corruption case. The court also sentenced his wife for abetting her husband's crime and keeping the ill-gotten wealth in her possession. Salim and his late wife Gulshan Ara were tried in absentia.
Salim recently caused serious controversy after leaving the country on April 30. At that time an aide to the lawmaker said Salim left for Bangkok for medical treatment and would return shortly. Selim returned on May 5.
Parallels were drawn with the situation faced by BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and there was debate about the legality of the government allowing Salim to fly abroad.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan overseeing the case said Haji Salim did not have any "Legal option" to travel abroad as a convict.
BNP chief Khaleda Zia, who was convicted in a graft case, had been denied repeated requests by her family to take her abroad for more modern medical treatment. Three-time Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has been suffering from multiple health complications, according to her physicians.
However, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, did not agree with the ACC counsel's opinion, saying Salim's travel abroad was legal.
"As far as the legal question is concerned, his trip came before the High Court decision," he said during a recent briefing. "He is a member the parliament. He respects law. His trip abroad was in line the law."
When asked whether a convict could make such a trip, the Home Minister said "You know that when the High Court delivers its verdict, there is an official written version. The verdict was announced, but it has not been officially implemented. He left and returned before it was implemented."
Another opinion is that Salim has been at the risk of losing his membership in the parliament since the High Court confirmed his 10-year prison term in March last year. However, the parliament is yet to make a decision about Salim's membership.

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