The High Court on Monday asked for details of Bangladeshi nationals who have dual citizenship and passports and are also suspected of amassing wealth abroad through money laundering.
The bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Ahmed Sohel asked the Immigration Department of the Special Branch of Police to submit the list by February 28.
Advocate Khurshid Alam appeared for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the virtual court while Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state.
On November 18, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen spoke about 28 cases of money laundering abroad.
“I thought the number of politicians would be higher. But most of the money launderers are government officials, followed by a few politicians and businessmen,” Abdul Momen said.
On November 22, the High Court issued a rule asking for the details of money launderers and the actions taken against them.
ACC chairman, home secretary, foreign secretary, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, NBR Chairman and Dhaka Deputy Commissioner were asked to respond to the rule.
On December 17, the ACC and four other agencies submitted a report on money laundering before the High Court.
Unsatisfied with the report, the court again sought a complete list of those involved in siphoning money abroad – including to Canada and the US – before February 28 next year.
The High Court on Thursday ordered the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the government to file a report by Feb 28 next year on money launderers and steps taken against them.
The virtual bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Ahmed Sohel issued the order after the ACC filed a report in this regard.
ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan tried to highlight the list of money laundering cases between 2016 and 2020 in which charges have been pressed.
The court told him: “We want to see what you’ve done after our order. We’d like to know about steps taken against money launderers who’ve bought properties abroad. Tell us what’s new.”
During the hearing, the court said it wants to assist the country and its people and noted media reports on money laundering was “an ominous sign”.
“We want to know the names of money launderers,” the court said.
Money laundering hit the headlines again after Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen spoke about the issue at a media conference on Nov 18.
“I thought that the number of the politicians (involved in money laundering) would be higher but [according to] the report I received … many government officials have houses in foreign countries and their children are studying there. I’ve received 28 cases and among them four are politicians while some are RMG businessmen. We’re trying to collect more information,” he said at a programme at the Dhaka Reporters Unity.
Based on the reports, the High Court on Nov 22 issued a suo-moto rule seeking information on money launderers. The concerned agencies met the attorney general twice to prepare a report for submitting before the court.
The latest meeting took place on Dec 14 in presence of representatives of ACC, home and foreign ministries, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit and the National Board of Revenue.
The ACC filed its report on Thursday but the court was not satisfied with it and gave the authorities concerned until Feb 28 to furnish a report.
Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state.
The attorney general told the court the foreign ministry has sought time to file their report.
A report of the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in March said that Bangladesh lost Tk 63,924 crore ($7.53 billion) a year between 2008 and 2017 to trade misinvoicing.
According to Swiss National Bank's (SNB) annual report for 2019, deposit of money by Bangladeshis and enterprises went down by 2.38 percent to 603 million Swiss Francs (CHF) in 2019 from 617 million CHF in the previous year.
Bangladesh is gearing up for a crackdown on black money. The government is reportedly planning to sign taxation agreements with as many as 12 countries for allowing exchange of information in order to bring back black money stashed abroad.
In the latest budget, the government introduced a scope to whiten black money.
The High Court on Thursday granted bail to photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol in two cases filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA), clearing the way for his release.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the order.
With the court order, there is no bar for Kajol’s release now, said his counsel Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua .
Deputy Attorney General Mohamamd Sarwar Hossain represented the state.
The journalist had gone missing on March 10, a day after one case was filed by Awami League's Magura-1 MP Saifuzzaman Shikhor.
Also read: Photojournalist Kajol secures bail
Kajol and 30 others, including Manabzamin editor Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, were accused in the DSA case for publishing and sharing an article on social media over expelled Jubo Mohila League leader Shamima Noor Papia.
Also read: Photojournalist Kajol denied bail
Two other cases were filed against Kajol with Kamrangirchar and Hazaribagh police stations under the DSA on March 10 and March 11.
Also read: Why journalist Kajol should not be granted bail, HC asks
After remaining out of trace for 53 days, Kajol was shown as detained by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) along the Benapole border on May 3, and produced before a Jashore court the same day.
Also read: Photojournalist Kajol put on 2-day remand
Although the court granted him bail in the case, he was sent to jail as Kotwali police brought another charge against him under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Also read: Photojournalist Kajol secures bail
The High Court on Tuesday suspended the freedom fighter gallntary awards of four fugitive killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The four convicts are -SHBM Noor Chowdhury, Shariful Haque Dalim, Rashed Chowdhury, and Moslehuddin alias Muslem Uddin Khan.
The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam passed the order after hearing a petition.
The HC also asked the Cabinet Secretary and the Liberation War Affairs secretary to take necessary steps in this regard.
Read Also: Bangabandhu’s killer Majed finally hanged
Besides, the HC issued a rule asking the government to explain as to why the inaction of the government in cancelling the gallantry awards of the four convicted killers should not be declared illegal.
The authorities concerned have been asked to respond to the rule.
Advocate Abdul Kaiyum Khan stood for the petitioner.
On December 2, Supreme Court lawyer Subir Nandi Das filed the writ petition.
According to the writ, the government awarded Bir Sreshtho title to seven, Bir Bikrom to 175, Bir Pratik 426 in 1973.
On December 15, 1973, a gazette notification was issued in this regard.
Of them, SHBM Noor Chowdhury, Shariful Haque Dalim, Rashed Chowdhury, and Moslehuddin alias Muslem Uddin Khan were awarded Bir Pratik.
Many countries including the USA, New Zealand and Canda have revoked the gallantry award of convicts, said the petition.
On August 15, 1975, Bangladesh’s founding father Bangabandhu and most of his family members were assassinated by a cabal of military men.
Eighteen members of his family, including Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib, three sons – Captain Sheikh Kamal, Lieutenant Sheikh Jamal and 10-year-old Sheikh Russel, two daughters-in-law Sultana Kamal and Rosy Jamal, brother Sheikh Naser, peasant leader Abdur Rab Serniabat, youth leader Sheikh Fazlul Haq Moni and his wife Arzu Moni, Baby Serniabat, Sukanta Babu, Arif and Abdul Nayeem Khan Rintu, were, among others, killed on that fateful night.
Military Secretary Brigadier General Jamil was also killed. Several members of a family in the capital’s Mohammadpur area were killed by artillery shells fired by the killers on the same day.
On November 19, 2009, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of 12 convicted former army officials for the assassination of Bangabandhu and his family members.
Five killers of Bangabandhu – Syed Farooq Rahman, Sultan Shahriar Rashid Khan, Bazlul Huda, AKM Mohiuddin Ahmed and Mohiuddin Ahmed – were hanged in January 2010.
Besides, another fugitive convict, Capt (dismissed) Abdul Majed, hanged in April, 2019.
Another killer Aziz Pasha met natural death in Zimbabwe in 2001.
The fugitive killers are former Lt Col Khandaker Abdur Rashid, SHBM Noor Chowdhury, Shariful Haque Dalim, Rashed Chowdhury, and Risaldar Moslehuddin.
Of them, the government know the whereabouts of Noor Chowdhury, Rashed Chowdhury and Moslehuddin while it was not sure about the other three fugitives -- Rashid, Dalim and Majed.
According to the government, Noor Chowdhury has been living in Canada while Rashed Chowdhury in the USA.
The High Court on Monday cleared five death row convicts of all charges in a case filed over gang-rape of a teenage girl 18 years ago.
The bench of Justice SM Emdadul Hoque and Justice Bhishmadev Chakraborty came up with the verdict after hearing the appeals of the accused and the death reference of the case.
The convicted accused are Shamim, Vikon Rongdi, Tikon Rongdi, Tapash Shema and Rup Miah of Netrokona's Purbadhala upazila. Among them, Rup Miah is absconding.
Also read: 5 to die in Tangail gang-rape case
Deputy Attorney General Md Mozammal Haque Rana represented the state while lawyers Fazlul Hoque Khan Farid, AM Mahbub Uddin and a few others stood for the accused.
The court dropped the charges against the accused as the allegations were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant’s lawyers said.
Fazlul Hoque said, “There was no evidence of rape in the medical report and the statements made by the victim and witnesses were inconsistent.”
Asked if the government will move an appeal against the verdict, Deputy Attorney General Mozammal Haque said, “I will send a note to the Attorney General. If he decides on lodging an appeal, it will be done.”
Also read: 5 to die in Tangail gang-rape case
According to the case statement, the teenager was repeatedly gang-raped – on July 20, 2002 – in Netrokona while she was on her way to a relative’s house.
The girl, who was 15-year-old at that time, filed a case with Purbadhala Police Station the next day.
On November 8 that same year, the police filed a chargesheet.
Almost 13 years later, in February 2015, the district Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal sentenced the five accused to death in connection with the case and imposed a fine of Tk25,000 on each. Today's judgement must raise questions over how the lower court could arrive at such a flawed verdict. The full judgement, once it is delivered, can be expected to shed light on whether the reasons were systemic or specific to the case.