Lower courts can grant bail in money laundering cases: HC

Dhaka, Dec 5 – In a majority view, a larger bench of the High Court on Thursday observed that the lower court could grant bail to the money laundering cases accused persons in accordance with the law. The HC however, said that the lower court should dispose of the cases carefully as an important issue like money laundering is involved with the cases.
The HC also ordered the concerned magistrates to scrutinize the all documents including information reports of the cases, statements of plaintiff and defence sides and related laws before disposing of such
The larger bench of the HC comprising Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury, Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal in a majority view came up with the observation while disposing of a
suo motu rule issued by the HC earlier that questioned the bail granted to two former high officials of AB Bank in a money laundering case involving Tk 165 crore.
Two members of the HC bench Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice M Enayetur Rahim upheld the lower court order that granted bail to M Wahidul Haque, former chairman of AB Bank, and Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal, the bank’s former head of financial institutions and treasury.
However, the junior member of the bench Justice Md Ashraful Kamal disagreed with the verdict and cancelled their bail.
The junior Justice also ordered the former bank officials to surrender before the lower court within a month.
In his observation, Justice Md Ashraful Kamal said that though the special court has the power to grant bail and placing remand for the accused under special laws, but the magistrate court had granted bail of the former bank officials without exercising its judicial power. Hence, their bail has been cancelled ordered them to surrender before the lower court concerned, the court said.
It observed that the people should aware against corruption. The government should play its strict role against the corruption as well as the court should also aware against the corruption.
After the HC order, Anti-Corruption Commission lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told reporters that the lower court could grant bail for those accused who were facing money laundering cases under special law following the High Court order as the majority order would be maintained.
In response to a query, he said that the commission would decide about filing an appeal after getting the full copy of the High Court verdict.
A Dhaka court on January 25 this year granted bail to M Wahidul Haque and Abu Hena Mustafa Kamal within few hours after they were produced before it in connection with a money laundering case filed against them.
On January 31, a two-judge HC bench led by Justice Enayetur Rahim issued the suo motu rule asking the government, Anti-Corruption Commission, Wahidul and Abu Hena to explain the bail granted by the
lower court to Wahidul and Abu Hena in the case should not be cancelled.
The bench also issued a travel ban on Wahidul and Abu Hena. After issuing the suo motu rule, the HC bench sent the matter to the Chief Justice for his decision.
Later, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain constituted the larger High Court bench for disposing of a suo motu rule that questioned the bail granted to two former high officials of AB Bank in a money laundering case involving Tk 165 crore.
After hearing on the rule, the HC bench yesterday came up with the order and observations.
ACC assistant director Gulshan Anowar Pradhan filed the case against eight people, including AB Bank’s former chairman and two managing directors, with Motijheel Police Station in charge of laundering
around Tk 165 crore.
The ACC on January 25 arrested Wahidul, Abu Hena and businessman Saiful Haque — three of the eight accused — in connection with the case.
After they were produced before a Dhaka court, it granted bail to Wahidul and Mostafa but sent Saiful on a three-day remand.
The other accused in the case are M Fazlur Rahman and Shamim Ahmed Chaudhury, ex-managing directors of AB Bank; Mohammad Lokman, the bank’s head of offshore banking unit; Mohammad Mahuz Ul Islam, its vice president of corporate treasury department; and Nurul Azim, its senior vice president. – Staff Reporter