The High Court yesterday said the Anti-Corruption Commission must take the responsibility for Jaha Alam not getting bail much earlier.
The ACC should have taken initiatives so that Alam, who was wrongly in prison for three years because of an identity mess-up, obtains bail when it came to know that he is innocent, the court said.
The bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader came up with the observation while hearing a rule issued by the same bench regarding acquittal of Alam of the cases in which he was not an accused.
The judges said the ACC is an independent institution and it should be transparent, saying that “what is the use of the cat that cannot catch rats”.
The HC bench said, “We don't want the people to have a negative perception about the Anti-Corruption Commission. Therefore, the commission will have to take action against the corrupt. Our morality has declined though the country's economic condition has improved.”
The court directed the ACC to submit all the documents regarding the loan scam cases filed against Alam and others before the court and fixed April 10 for further hearing.
On February 4, Alam was released from Kashimpur High Security Jail after the HC exonerated him from 26 corruption cases, in which he was in jail instead of the real accused, Abu Salek.
During yesterday's hearing, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan placed a report before the HC bench, saying that the commission had placed charge sheets in 26 cases against Alam before the trial courts on the basis of the documents supplied by 18 banks, including Bangladesh Bank and Sonali Bank.
Khurshid said the further investigation reports of the loan scam cases had also been submitted to the trial courts.
The ACC has also submitted petitions to the courts concerned for withdrawing charges against Alam, he said.
The witnesses of the cases, including the bank officials, had identified Jaha Alam as Abu Salek, but it was clear from the further investigation that the real accused is Salek who is from Thakurgaon, while Alam is from Tangail, the lawyer added.
Then the HC said when Alam was produced before the trial courts, he had claimed that he is Jaha Alam, not Abu Salek.
But the public prosecutors and the ACC had not taken any step for his bail, the court said, adding that the commission would have to take the responsibility for this.
It also asked the ACC lawyer as to how many bank officials had been implicated in the charge sheets as 18 banks, including Bangladesh Bank and Sonali Bank, were involved in the cases.
Police arrested Alam in 2016.
On January 28 this year, the HC summoned the ACC officials concerned to appear before it on February 4 to give their explanations about Alam's case.
The court passed the order on a suo moto move after Bangla daily Prothom Alo on that day published a report headlined “Wrong accused in jail in 33 cases: Sir, I am Jaha Alam, not Salek.”
It also issued a rule asking the authorities to explain why Alam should not be acquitted of the cases in which he was not an accused.
After the media reported that Alam was wrongly accused, the ACC launched an investigation.
The anti-graft body found Alam's claim to be true.