HC summons DG of ACC, 3 govt officials
The High Court yesterday summoned the director general of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and three other government officials to explain why a person named Jaha Alam, instead of the real accused, was in jail for the last three years.
They will have to appear before the HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and Justice KM Kamrul Quader by 10:30am on February 3, HC sources said.
The three government officials were plaintiffs of two of the 33 cases filed against Abu Salek, a businessman. They represented the secretaries of the law and home ministries.
Meanwhile, Judge Sheikh Golam Mahbub of the special court-6 yesterday exempted Alam from the charges.
HOW JAHA ALAM LANDED IN JAIL
Between 2010 and 2011, Salek misappropriated about Tk 18 crore from Sonali Bank's Cantonment branch. Salek used a fake address to open an account with the bank, the ACC said.
Salek also had an account in another private bank, ACC sources said.
In 2012, the anti-graft watchdog filed the 33 cases over the misappropriation, and Salek was made accused in most of them.
During investigation, the commission asked the banks' officials to identify and trace Salek.
The officials informed the ACC that the address provided by Salek in his bank documents was in Tangail's Nagarpur, ACC sources said.
The commission then summoned Salek to its office where the bank officials, including the account's introducers, were present.
However, the man who appeared before the ACC claimed that the authorities concerned were mistaken and his name was Jaha Alam, not Abu Salek.
“To ascertain further, we sent the photo that Salek used in the bank's Know-Your-Client form to Nagarpur's Union Parishad chairman, who identified him as Jaha Alam,” said an investigation officer preferring anonymity.
Later, the ACC placed a charge-sheet before the court identifying him as Abu Salek alias Jaha Alam.
In 2016, Alam was arrested by police in connection with most of the cases in which Salek was accused.
HOW JAHA ALAM'S IDENTITY WAS KNOWN
Different media outlets reported that Jaha Alam said he was wrongly accused, after which the ACC investigated the matter further.
The commission found Alam's claim to be true.
Contacted, ACC Director General Moyeedul Islam said of the 33 cases, Alam was made accused in most of them.
“We have already urged the court to exempt Jaha Alam from prosecution,” he said, adding that the process was underway.
He, however, said Salek, who was on the run, would remain as the accused in the cases.
Yesterday, the HC bench passed the order in a suo moto move following a report published in the Bangla daily Prothom Alo yesterday under the headline “Wrong accused in jail in 33 cases: Sir, I am Jaha Alam, not Salek.”
Supreme Court lawyer Amit Das Gupta placed the news report before the HC bench for necessary orders in this regard.
HC judges issued the summons after going through the report.
The court also gave a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why Jaha Alam should not be acquitted of the cases in which he was not an accused, Amit told The Daily Star.
Ealier, the DG of the ACC said that the faces of Abu Salek and Jaha Alam, according to the photograph, were similar.
'JAHA IS INNOCENT'
Speaking to our Manikganj correspondent, Alam's elder brother Shanur said his brother used to work in Narsingdi's Ghorashal Jute Mill in 2003 as a machine operator.
His job was made permanent in 2012, from which he earned Tk 2,000-3,000 per week.
His family is unable to bear the expenses of the cases.
“I demand the release of my brother and [for the] punishment to the real culprits,” he said, adding that the family sought compensation from the government in this regard.
Meanwhile, the ACC learnt from a Facebook post on Salek's profile that he was in Nepal about one month ago.
Alam is still languishing in Kashimpur jail.