Vol. 5 Num 1023 Wed. April 18, 2007  
Front Page

Case against Tarique stayed for 6 months

The High Court (HC) yesterday stayed for six months the proceedings of Tk 1 crore extortion case against former prime minister Khaleda Zia's son and BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Tarique Rahman.

The HC bench that passed the order also rejected Tarique's bail prayer and issued a rule on the government asking it to explain within four weeks why the case against Tarique should not be quashed.

Advocate TH Khan moved for Tarique while Deputy Attorney General Abdur Rouf moved for the state in the case in which Tarique has been charged for extorting Tk 1 crore from Al-Amin Construction.

Owner of the construction firm Amin Ahmed, who got BNP nomination from Noakhali for the stalled January 22 election, filed the case against Tarique with Gulshan Police Station on March 8, a few hours after the joint forces arrested Tarique at his mother's Dhaka Cantonment residence.

Legal experts said if the government appeals in the Supreme Court for vacating the HC stay order and obtains it, the case may proceed again.

The investigation officer of the extortion case submitted the charge sheet against Tarique and his close aide Mian Nuruddin Apu on March 18.

April 5 was fixed for framing charge at a Dhaka court, but on April 4 Tarique appealed in the HC to quash the case and the trial court had adjourned proceedings of the case until yesterday.

The government took initiatives to hold trial of the case under Speedy Trial Act 2002, according to which the charge sheet will have to be submitted within seven days of the incident if any accused is not caught red handed.

Tarique's lawyers argued that the charge sheet had not been submitted within seven days as per the law since the case was filed two months after the incident of the alleged extortion took place on January 4.

The prosecution lawyers, however, argued that it was not possible to submit the charge sheet within seven days of the incident as the case was filed later.

Meanwhile, the state counsel yesterday informed the HC that the government amended the Speedy Trial Act 2002 provision for submitting the charge sheet within seven days. According to the amended Act, the charge sheet will have to be submitted "as soon as possible".

Terming the amendment "unfair", the HC bench said, "The amendment has been done to obstruct the proceedings of the court." Then the court issued the rule on the government.

Our court correspondent adds: A Dhaka court yesterday adjourned the proceedings of the extortion case against Tarique until April 22, following submission of a time petition by the defence lawyers.

Metropolitan Magistrate Abdur Rouf Khan of Speedy Trial Court-2 passed the order after defence lawyers filed a petition seeking stay order on the processing of the case.

The same court also rejected another defence petition for providing Tarique with division in jail custody.

In yesterday's petition, the defence lawyers told the court that they submitted a petition with the HC on April 4, seeking quashment of the case. After the hearing, the HC had fixed yesterday for order on the petition.

The defence lawyers said the proceedings of the extortion case should be adjourned until the HC order is passed.

After hearing both the sides, the court granted the petition for seeking stay order on the proceedings of the case but rejected the petition for providing Tarique with division.

The former prime minister's son has also been shown arrested in connection with a case for extortion of Tk 81 lakh filed with Gulshan Police Station on March 27.