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Monday, July 28, 2008
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Fugitive Ilias Ali appears, disappears from HC

Despite an arrest warrant, former BNP lawmaker M Ilias Ali yesterday walked into the High Court (HC) and left unhindered as the law enforcers on duty there stood by.

Along with another ex-BNP lawmaker Shahiduddin Chowdhury Anne, he went to the HC to seek anticipatory bail.

Ilias has been on the run since the state of emergency was declared in January 11 last year.

On April 8 this year, the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Sylhet issued a warrant for his arrest in an extortion case. A female union parishad member filed the case with Bishwanath Police Station.

Listed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) as graft suspects, Ilias and Anne showed up at the HC at around noon. The court fixed Tuesday for hearing on their petition for bail.

Contacted, Officer-in-Charge of Shahbagh Police Station Rezaul Karim said, “We did not make any move because at that time we did not have any documents relating to the arrest warrant against him [Ilias].”

Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon accompanied the former lawmakers in the HC.

Now the convener of Sylhet district BNP, Ilias amassed a fortune pulling strings behind tenders at different government departments during the rule of BNP-led four-party alliance. He also made huge sums by helping contractors win contracts and work during the five-year period.

In 1987, he was expelled from Dhaka University on charges of violence. He gained notoriety leading a group of armed youth belonging to Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD), student wing of BNP.

The university authorities had to close the university quite frequently due to clashes between Illias group and their rivals.

During the BNP rule from 1990 to 1996, he was declared persona non grata at the Prime Minister's Office.

In January this year, the ACC had issued a notice asking the former lawmaker to turn in a wealth statement.

Later, it detected wide discrepancies between his actual wealth and the assets he showed in his statement to the anti-graft body.

In the wealth statement, he showed his assets are worth around Tk 5.27 crore while an ACC probe found that he owns much more than that.

A six-storey building that he has in the city's Banani area alone is worth around Tk 2.50 crore. He owns three luxury cars including a Porsche.

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