The High Court yesterday directed the authorities concerned to launch a judicial enquiry into the allegation that an innocent man has been in jail instead of a convict in a drugs case.
The man in jail is Manik Hawlader while the convict is Manik Mia of Shariatpur's Bhedarganj upazila. Hawlader, who claims to be innocent, has been in Sirajganj jail since he was arrested on November 28, 2020.
The HC ordered the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) of Shariatpur to conduct the enquiry in order to identify the actual accused of the case and to submit the probe report to the HC in 30 days.
Special Tribunal-1 of Sirajganj and its jail superintendent have been asked to assist the chief judicial magistrate conduct the probe.
The HC also issued a rule asking its respondents to explain why the arrest of Manik Hawlader and his imprisonment without verification of the names, addresses and other details of both the men should not be declared illegal.
In the rule, the court asked them to explain why they should not be directed to release Manik Hawlader from jail, Deputy Attorney General Tushar Kanti Roy told The Daily Star.
Secretaries of the home and law ministries, deputy commissioner and CJM of Shariatpur, deputy commissioner of Sirajganj, judge of Special Tribunal-1 of Sirajganj, jailer of the district, and other officials concerned are respondents to the rule.
The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam issued the order and rule following a writ petition filed by Hawlader's wife Salma Begum.
She submitted the writ petition to the HC on March 2, challenging the legality of her husband's arrest and imprisonment.
Sirajganj Special Tribunal-1 convicted and sentenced Manik Mia to four years in prison in a drug related case in February, 2019.
In 2009, Manik Mia was arrested in a case filed over possession of 600 bottles of Phensedyl, DAG Tushar Kanti Roy said.
The same year, he secured bail from the HC and went absconding before he was convicted in the case.
In the bail bond documents, Manik Mia mentioned his name as Manik Hawlader, added Tushar.
Police later arrested Manik Hawlader, he added.
Manik Hawlader is innocent, the writ petitioner's lawyer Partha Sarathi Ray told The Daily Star.