HC asks Tarique to surrender in trial court

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The High Court on Sunday directed Bangladesh Nationalist Party senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman to surrender before the trial court and admitted the Anti-Corruption Commission’s appeal against his acquittal of the charge of siphoning money to Singapore.
A bench of Justice Md Nizamul Huq and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain also called for records of the court of special judge 3 of Dhaka which delivered the verdict on November 17, 2013 acquitting Tarique of the charge of siphoning Tk 20.41 crore to Singapore.
The ACC counsel, Md Khurshid Alam Khan, told New Age, ‘Tarique may not be able to engage his lawyer to oppose the ACC appeal until the High Court’s order asking him [Tarique] to surrender in the trial court is complied’.
The High Court also asked the trial court to consider Tarique’s bail on his surrender; the HC was quoted by the ACC lawyer to have said.
The lawyer said the final hearing on the appeal would resume after completion of some procedures that include production of the lower court records to the High Court from the lower court, and the documents are being printed at the government printing press.
Tarique’s lawyer was not present during the hearing.
Later, Supreme Court Bar Association lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali and former SCBA secretary Md Bodruddoza Badal appeared before the court and prayed for scrapping the part of the order relating to Tarique’s surrender, but the court refused.
On December 5, 2013, the ACC filed the appeal seeking to set aside the part of the judgement of the trial court which sentenced co-accused Giasuddin Al-Mamun to seven years in jail in the case.
On Thursday, the High Court heard the ACC lawyer about the admissibility of the appeal.
ACC lawyer submitted that the trial court had committed serious illegality by acquitting Tarique Rahman from the charge without properly evaluating the evidences.
He also called the trial court’s verdict without properly examining the evidences as erroneous.
The trial court verdict said that the main allegation against Tarique brought by the prosecution was that he suppressed the information that he had withdrawn foreign currency worth about Tk 45 lakh using his supplementary credit card from Giasuddin Al Mamun’s Citi Bank account in Singapore.
The verdict said that the investigation report of the money laundering case was an important part of the judicial record which clearly said that Tarique in his wealth statement, submitted in 2007 to the ACC in response to its notice, disclosed that he used his supplementary gold visa card to withdraw the money.
But the money laundering prevention act does not make the withdrawer liable of the charges if Mamun allows his partner, friend or anyone else to withdraw money from his account, said the trial court verdict.
The ACC had filed the case with the Cantonment police station on October 26, 2009 against Tarique, the elder son of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, and his business partner Mamun on charges of laundering money to Singapore.
Tarique has been living in London since he was forced into exile in September 2008 by the then military-backed caretaker government.
Tarique was declared a fugitive and denied defence during the trial.
Following his acquittal, the trial court withdrew the arrest warrants it had issued against Tarique earlier.

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