Vol. 5 Num 351 Wed. May 25, 2005  
Front Page

Contempt Charges
Judge, Shoaib,PP apologise to High Court

A Dhaka court judge, the public prosecutor (PP) and the sacked managing director (MD) of Inqilab TV appeared in person before the High Court to face contempt charges yesterday and tendered unqualified apologies for the offence.

The High Court Division Bench of justices Khademul Islam Chowdhury and Emdadul Haq Azad on May 16 issued a suo moto contempt rule on the three after the sacked MD was granted bail in a sedition case in the lower court while the matter was pending with the High Court.

They were asked to appear in person before the court yesterday.

Judge Mohammad Shamsul Alam Khan of the Court of First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Dhaka, PP Abdullah Mahmud Hassan and MD Salauddin Shoaib Chowdhury went to the High Court and stood in the dock for about two hours.

The judge and the PP in a written statement offered their unconditional apology, while Shoaib verbally apologised to the court.

The court gave Shoaib until June 20 to file a written apology and all the three to personally appear before the same day.

The metropolitan sessions judge's court granted bail to Shoaib on April 30 in a sedition case upon a bond of Tk 1 lakh with four guarantors. The PP did not oppose the bail petition despite being the prosecution lawyer since the case was filed on January 24 last year.

During hearing on the bail petition, PP Hassan had told the court that he would have no objection to the bail move since the court grants bail with proper guarantors.

On April 2, the same court rejected the bail petition of the accused on the ground that the charges brought against him had been primarily proved. The prosecution had also opposed the bail petition, saying Shoaib through his activities had offended the religious sentiments of Muslims.

On March 28, the HC bench in a rule ordered the government to explain within 10 days as to why Shoaib would not be granted bail.

The law stipulates that no lower court pass any orders on a matter if any rule on the same matter is pending with the higher court.

Shoaib's getting bail in the lower court drew the attention of the HC bench that viewed the matter tantamount to contempt to court.

Police arrested Shoaib from Zia International Airport on November 29, 2003 for his alleged ties to Mossad, Israel's counter-intelligence agency. Mohammad Abdul Hanif, officer-in-charge (OC) of Airport Police Station, filed a sedition case against Shoaib with the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka on January 24 last year.

Shoaib was scheduled to present a paper at a seminar in Tel Aviv, and faxes and e-mails seized from his possession proved that he had passed sensitive information out, stated the complaint.

A project profile seeking a fund of Tk 12 crore from the Jews in Israel was also found on him. The fund was sought to publish three dailies, namely the Dainik Sonali Din, Dainik Rupantar and Dainik Paribartan, the complaint added.