HC upholds jail sentence of BNP MP Harunur Rashid
The High Court in the full text of a verdict has upheld five years jail sentence of BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid in a case filed for evading tax while importing a luxury car, observing that the trial court has rightly found him guilty and convicted and sentenced him correctly.
"……From the discussion made above and on perusal of the evidence, deposition of the prosecution witnesses, and the cross-examination made by the convict appellants (Harunur, MP of Chapainawabganj-3, Enayetur Rahman Bappi, former managing director of NTV, and Ishtiaq Sadek, owner of Sky Autos), I am of the view that the prosecution has successfully proved the charge against the convict appellants," the bench of Justice Md Salim said.
The special judge has rightly found them guilty under Section 409/109 of the Penal Code, the verdict added.
Following the HC verdict and observation, a controversy has sparked whether MP Harunur Rashid can hold the office as a lawmaker.
The five years' imprisonment of Harunur Rashid has been upheld by the HC and therefore, he cannot remain as a member of parliament under article 66(2) of the constitution, Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told The Daily Star.
"A person shall be disqualified for election as, or for being, a member of Parliament who has been, on conviction for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude, sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since his release," according to the article.
Meanwhile, Harunur's lawyer AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon told The Daily Star that there was no legal bar for his client to remain as a lawmaker and to contest elections for the same post in future as the HC has upheld his 16 months' jail sentence.
"We will move an appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court against the High Court verdict and seeking acquittal of the case," he added.
In the full text of verdict, the HC, however, said their sentence will be treated as served out as they have faced prolonged trial since 2007.
"Nevertheless, the sentence of the convict appellants Harunur Rashid, Ishtiaq Sadek and Md Enayetur Rahman is treated to have been served out as they have faced prolonged trial in the trial court since 2007 and already served out a substantial part of the sentence," the HC bench said.
The HC bench had delivered the short verdict on December 9 last year dismissing their appeals challenging the lower court judgment on them in the case filed by the ACC.
A Dhaka court on October 21, 2019, sentenced Harunur to five years imprisonment, Enayetur to two years imprisonment, and Ishtiaq to three years imprisonment in the case filed for tax evasion.