Appellate Division Thursday halted the High Court’s orders that granted bail to the former prime minister, Khaleda Zia, and stayed the cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission against her, her sons Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman, her cabinet colleagues Moudud Ahmed, Nazmul Huda and Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu and businessman Nurul Islam Babul.
The full court of all the seven judges of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice M Ruhul Amin, passed the orders, paving the way for the ACC and the government to move ahead with the cases. The court came up with the orders after hearing the ACC’s petitions seeking stay of the High Court’s orders that stayed the GATCO scam case against Khaleda Zia and Arafat, and five cases against Tarique Rahman, former ministers Moudud Ahmed and Nazmul Huda, former deputy minister Ruhul Quddus Talukder Dulu and businessman Nurul Islam Babul for possessing illegal wealth and assets.
“As the Appellate Division has stayed the High Court’s orders, there is no legal bar on continuation of the proceedings in the six cases,” additional attorney-general Salahuddin Ahmed, who moved the ACC’s petitions, told newsmen.
“As the Appellate Division has stayed the bail to both the detained former prime ministers, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, now they may have to come out of jail through a political movement,” observed Rafique-ul Huq, who is the counsel for both of them.
ACC secretary, Mokhles ur Rahman, told reporters that the Appellate Division’s orders had removed the barriers and the cases would continue.
Salahuddin, moving the petitions, argued that the High Court’s orders should be stayed as the ACC would file regular petitions seeking permission to appeal against the orders. In separate orders, passed Sunday and Monday, the High Court issued contradictory directives as it stayed the proceedings of the cases, but said the investigation of the cases would continue, argued the state’s attorney.
Rafique argued that the High Court had rightly passed the orders after considering the fact that the ACC filed the cases in violation of the law and the constitution, and brought the GATCO case under the Emergency Powers Rules though the alleged offense was committed much before the emergency rules came into effect.
He said, in reply to a query by the court, that Article 93 of the constitution empowers the president to promulgate any ordinance and make any law that can be made by the parliament.
The court asked Rafique whether the president, by the Emergency Powers Ordinance, has made any law that cannot be made by the parliament.
The counsel, however, replied that he would prefer to argue on the merits of the case in the High Court during the hearing of the rules it issued on the ACC.
The High Court bench of Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Zubayer Rahman Chowdhury Sunday granted bail to Khaleda in the GATCO scam case.
It also stayed the proceedings of the case against Khaleda and her youngest son, Arafat Rahman, under the Emergency Powers Rules and asked the ACC and the chief metropolitan magistrate of Dhaka to explain in six weeks the legality of bringing the case under the emergency rules.
ACC deputy director, Golam Shahriar Chowdhury, filed the GATCO corruption case on September 2 with the Tejgaon police against 13 people, including Khaleda and Arafat, for awarding a contract to “an incompetent and unfit firm, GATCO,” to handle containers at the Inland Container Depot in Dhaka and at Chittagong Port, allegedly after taking a hefty bribe.
The same bench Monday stayed the proceedings of the cases filed by the ACC against Tarique, Moudud, Nazmul Huda and his wife Sigma Huda, Dulu and Babul for amassing illegal wealth. The court also issued separate rules on ACC to explain in six weeks why its notices to them, asking for their wealth statements, and the cases filed against them in furtherance of the notices would not be declared illegal and void.