Vol. 5 Num 377 Sun. June 19, 2005  
Front Page

Money Laundering Charge
Bidisha's bail plea rejected

A Dhaka court yesterday rejected the bail petition of Bidisha, former dictator HM Ershad's estranged wife, in a money laundering case filed under bailable section.

The case, in which she was shown arrested, was filed on Thursday on a charge of funnelling abroad local and foreign currencies worth Tk 21 crore.

Metropolitan Magistrate Abdur Rouf Khan passed the order following a petition for bail placed before it by the defence.

Moving the petition, Advocate Zahirul Islam, Shafiuddin Bhuiyan, and Kazi M Sajwar Hossain told the court that though their client was seriously ill, she was tortured during the remand.

They also submitted that she was not getting proper treatment at the prison cell of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital (BSMMUH). Earlier, Bidisha was granted ad-interim bail in three cases, filed by Ershad and police.

But police filed the money laundering case when Bidisha was about to be released from the jail on Thursday.

The counsel for Bidisha also said the case was filed to harass her politically, and the government has done it for petty gains. Ershad too should be accused in the case as the date of occurrence was during their conjugal life, they said adding that if the former president is included as the accused, vital clues to what really happened will come out.

Moreover, the section under which the charge has been brought is bailable, the lawyers argued.

Ershad, chairman of Jatiya Party (JP), stands accused in 18 criminal cases, and of those, he was convicted in three cases. Three other cases are now at the stage of verdict while the rest are pending with different courts.

He has filed the cases against Bidisha just to save his own skin and avoid the arrest, Shafiuddin Bhuiyan observed.

Opposing the petition, GRO (general recording officer) Sub-Inspector Sairul Islam told the court that the accused had funnelled the currencies illegally and the investigation regarding the case is at primary stage. He said another court on Thursday already fixed June 20 as the date for hearing on the issue of interrogation at the prison cell (of BSMMUH).

Meanwhile, the same court rejected the bail petition of Jasmin alias Sangma, domestic help of Bidisha, accused in the case filed for theft, rampage, and making threats on Ershad's life.

Ershad filed the first case against Bidisha with Gulshan Police Station on June 4 for theft, rampage, and making threats, the second case on June 5 with the First Class Magistrate's Court, Dhaka for cheating on him after marriage, and the third one with Mohammadpur Police Station on June 8 for passport forgery. She was granted bail in all three cases.

Then on June 16, Officer-in-Charge of Gulshan Police Station Kazi Nure Alam filed the money laundering case. He, also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, filed it under Section 13 of the Money Laundering Control Act 2002 following the approval of Bangladesh Bank on June 14.

Bidisha, arrested on June 4 is now at the BSMMUH prison cell.