Vol. 5 Num 1137 Fri. August 10, 2007  
Front Page

Case against ex-secy Nurul Islam illegal
Declares HC

The High Court (HC) yesterday declared illegal the initiation of a case filed by now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption (Bac) in 2004 against AHM Nurul Islam, a former secretary to prime minister, for leaking "highly classified" information violating Official Secrets Act.

The court issued the rule following a writ petition filed by Nurul Islam in February challenging initiation of the case by the Bac since the sections or laws in the case do not come within the jurisdiction of the Bac or the present Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

The petitioner argued that the Official Secrets Act is also not in the schedule of the offences of the Criminal Law (amendment) Act 1958 or the ACC Act 2004.

After hearing both sides for several days, an HC division bench comprising justices ABM Khairul Haque and Syed Ziaul Karim yesterday delivered the judgment.

Advocates Anisul Huq, Tawfika Karim and Sheikh Baharul Islam appeared on behalf of Nurul Islam in the case while Assistant Attorney General Zafar Imam appeared on behalf of the government.

The Bac filed the case against Nurul Islam on June 7, 2004 and forced him and three other government employees into retirement on charge of leaking "highly classified" information violating the Official Secrets Act.

The three employees of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) accused in the case are Dinarul Islam, private secretary to the PM's private secretary, Syed Nurul Islam, computer operator, and Mohammad Selim, data entry operator.

The case filed by the then Bac inspector Md Zulfikar Ali with Tejgaon Police Station was Bac's first case under the 80-year-old Act.

It accused Nurul of taking away 12 compact discs (CDs) containing two sets of notes and summaries of sensitive files and keeping in his custody more files and notes containing the PM's signature with the intention to leak out the information.

The Bac also alleged that Nurul asked the computer and data entry operators to prepare the CDs and used the scanner and CD writer in his personal secretary's room.

A 12-member Bac investigation team had earlier seized 12 CDs from Nurul's desk at the PMO and recovered photocopies of 654 pages of summary of information signed by Khaleda kept in three files.

The Bac alleged that Nurul in connivance with the three employees leaked information keeping the PM in the dark, which hurt national interest and security.

Nurul Islam's counsel told reporters yesterday that the investigator had not yet submitted the investigation report.

Following yesterday's HC judgment, Nurul Islam told The Daily Star that filing of the case against him is an example of gross abuse of official power by former PM Khaleda Zia.

He said the case was filed only to harass him because he had initiated an inquiry against alleged corruption of Khaleda's eldest son Tarique Rahman.

"Doing this she has violated her constitutional oath of discharging duties as the prime minister without any fear or favour," Nurul said.

He demanded full-scale judicial inquiry into the circumstances that led to filing of this case and keeping it pending for more than three years. He also demanded punishment to anybody found guilty.