[Dhaka Correspondent] The High Court Monday stayed the proceedings of the cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission against former prime minister Khaleda Zia’s eldest son, Tarique Rahman, and former ministers Moudud Ahmed and Nazmul Huda. ACC filed cases against them for amassing illegal wealth. The High Court bench of Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Zubayer Rahman Chowdhury also asked ACC to explain in six weeks why the notices it served on the three BNP stalwarts asking for their wealth statements should not be declared illegal. ACC was also asked to explain why the cases filed against them in the furtherance of the notifications should not be declared illegal and void.
The court passed the orders after hearing separate writ petitions filed by the three challenging the legality of the ACC notices and cases against them. Those writ petitions were the first in challenging the legality of any case filed by the ACC on charges of amassing illegal wealth and concealing information in wealth reports.
The counsel for the three BNP leaders did not press for bail for any of them. The court, however, refused to grant bail to former communication minister Nazmul Huda’s wife and Sigma Huda. She was sued by the ACC along with her husband for abetting him in concealing facts.
The same court Sunday stayed the proceedings of the GATCO scam case against the BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia and her younger son, Arafat Rahman, under the Emergency Powers Rules and granted bail to Khaleda. The court had, however, turned down Arafat’s bail prayer.
Pleading for Moudud, Huda and Tarique, their counsel Rafique-ul-Huq told the court that the ACC had asked them to submit wealth reports in violation of the constitution and laws. According to the Anti-Corruption Commission Act and Anti-Corruption Commission rules, before asking a person to submit his wealth statement, ACC has to be certain, after investigation, that he owns wealth beyond his legitimate income. The counsel claimed that ACC served notices to Moudud on July 3, Huda on February 18 and Tarique on May 29 without any proper investigation of their wealth.
ACC assistant director Talebur Rahman filed a case against Nazmul Huda and Sigma Huda with the Dhanmandi police on July 11. Huda was arrested on February 5 and Sigma later surrendered to court.
ACC deputy assistant director Shariful Haque Siddiqui lodged a case with the Gulshan thana against Moudud for concealing information of his assets worth Taka 4,40,37,375 in his wealth report and amassing assets of Taka 7,38,48,237, beyond his known sources of income. He was arrested on April 13.
On September 26, ACC filed a case with Kafrul police station accusing Tarique, also senior joint secretary general of BNP, his wife Zubaida Rahman and mother-in-law Syeda Iqbalmand Banu, for concealing wealth information. Tarique was arrested on March 7. Tarique was charged for amassing wealth of over Taka 4.82 crore illegally and concealing information of property worth over Taka 4.23 crore in his wealth statement submitted to ACC. His wife and mother-in-law were accused of aiding and abetting him in protecting his wealth.