Conviction in Bribery Case: HC commutes jail term of Huda

The High Court yesterday commuted the jail term of former BNP communication minister Nazmul Huda to four years from seven years in a bribery case filed during the regime of the military backed caretaker government.

The court also directed Nazmul Huda to surrender before the trial court within 45 days after receiving the copy of the [HC] verdict, Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told The Daily Star.

The HC bench of Justice Bhabani Prasad Singha and Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam modified the lower court judgment and sentenced Nazmul Huda to four years imprisonment after hearing an appeal filed by Nazmul Huda and his wife Sigma Huda challenging the lower court judgment.

The couple had earlier served two years in jail for the case.

The bench said that Sigma Huda's sentence will be considered as served because she has earlier served jail in this case.

The ACC on March 21, 2007 filed the case with Dhanmondi Police Station alleging that Nazmul Huda took Tk 2.40 crore as bribe from a businessman, Mir Zahir Hossain, at different times, in exchange for awarding him five government contracts for construction works, including road renovations worth about Tk 30 crore.

Sigma Huda was charged in the same case for aiding and abetting her husband in taking the bribe, which was found to be deposited in an account of Khoborer Ontorale, a weekly newspaper owned by her. Later Tk 1 crore of the bribe money was transferred to HSBC bank accounts of their daughters.

A special court on August 27, 2007 sentenced Nazmul Huda to seven years rigorous imprisonment, while his wife Sigma Huda was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Nazmul Huda was also fined Tk 2.50 crore, in default of which he will have to serve additional year of the jail term. The court also ordered the state confiscate the bribes amounting to Tk 2.40 crore.

Following their appeal, the HC on March 20, 2011 acquitted the couple of the corruption charges.

However, the Appellate Division on December 1, 2014 scrapped the acquittal and asked the HC to hold a fresh hearing on their appeal.

Yesterday, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told The Daily Star that the lower court order that fined Nazmul Huda will remain in force, as the HC did not say anything about it.

Barrister Nazmul Huda, who moved for himself, and Sigma Huda, could not be reached over cell phone for their comments.