Tarique charged with money laundering

Tarique Rahman, the eldest son of former premier and Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s chairperson Khaleda Zia, was charged with money laundering on Monday.
Dhaka’s special judge Mohammad Mozammel Hossain framed the charges against Tarique, who is also BNP’s senior vice-chairman, in his absence and issued a warrant for his arrest.
Charges were also framed against Tarique’s business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun, who was in the dock.
The court posted September 11 for the commencement of the formal trial of the case with the recording of the depositions of prosecution witnesses.
This is the first-ever case in which Tarique needs to face a formal trial.
According to the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2002, Tarique and Mamun may be sentenced to imprisonment for seven years if the charges are proved to be correct.
The same court on July 25 had asked Tarique to appear before it on August 8.
Before the framing of the charges on Monday, the court rejected two separate petitions submitted by the counsels of Tarique and Mamun for deferring the indictment.
Tarique’s defence lawyers — Muhammad Jamiruddin Sircar, Rafiqul Islam Mia, AM Mahbubuddin Khokan and Fakhrul Islam — said that he was not in hiding.
Tarique, arrested by the army-led joint forces on 7 March, 2007 and sued in at least 12 cases during the regime of the interim government, was released from the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital’s prison cell on 3 September, 2008 on being granted bail by the High Court in all the 12 cases, said the defence counsels.
They added that Tarique then went to London for medical treatment and was still undergoing treatment there.
They appealed for the indictment to be adjourned till disposal of the petition filed on behalf of Tarique with the Appellate Division against a High Court order rejecting Tarique’s plea against the trial proceedings of the case.  The High Court on July 12 dismissed Tarique’s petition as it was not pressed by his counsels.
Opposing the defence pleas, chief special prosecutor Anisul Haq, and the Anti-Corruption Commission’s counsel Mosharraf Hossain Kajal, argued that the indictment should not be deferred as the High Court had not issued any instruction that could stop the indictment that had already been deferred four times.
The Dhaka senior special judge’s court on May 5 took cognisance of the charges pressed by the Anti-Corruption Commission against Tarique and Mamun.
The Appellate Division on June 2 dismissed a petition filed by Tarique to seek review of its February 9 verdict that had ruled for holding his trial under the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2002 instead of the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2009 that has replaced the 2002 Act.
The Anti-Corruption Commission’s assistant director, Mohammad Ibrahim, filed the case with the Dhaka Cantonment thana on 26 October, 2009, accusing Tarique and Mamun of siphoning off Tk 204 million to Singapore, between 2003 and 2007, in violation of the Money Laundering Prevention Act 2009.
On 6 July, 2010, Ibrahim submitted charge-sheets against Tarique and Mamun, showing 18 persons as prosecution witnesses.
This was the first case filed against Tarique after the Awami League-led alliance assumed office on 6 January, 2009.
The ACC pressed the charges a few days back after Tarique reportedly held a meeting behind closed doors in London with BNP leaders staying in European countries.
Mamun is now behind bars, facing a raft of corruption charges.
Khaleda’s youngest son Arafat Rahman was jailed for six years and fined Tk 190.41 million on June 23 for siphoning off SGD 28,84,000 and USD 9,32,000 to Singapore.
Tarique is also facing charges in two cases filed against the 21 August, 2004 grenade attack on an Awami League rally on Bangabandhu Avenue that killed many persons and maimed scores of others.
Dhaka’s metropolitan magistrate, Keshob Roy Chowdhury, on August 1 asked the authorities concerned to publish advertisements in two Bangla national dailies, asking Tarique and Khaleda Zia’s political secretary Harris Chowdhury and 10 others to appear before it in connection with the August 21 grenade attack.
The magistrate passed the order after some thanas submitted reports on the execution of warrants issued earlier for the arrest of the 12 persons, stating that they could not be arrested as they had gone into hiding.
On July 14 the Dhaka metropolitan sessions judge, Mohammad Zahurul Haque, issued warrants for the arrest of the 12, including Tarique, for the grenade attack in another case filed under the Explosive Substances Act.
The metropolitan sessions judge also asked the officers-in-charge of the concerned thanas to submit their reports by August 11.

-With New Age input

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