Graft: BNP leader Rafiqul Islam sent to jail
A Dhaka court on Wednesday sent BNP Standing Committee member Barrister Rafiqul Islam Mia to jail a day after he was arrested by police being sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in a corruption case.
The Metropolitan Magistrate Mahmuda Akter in Dhaka passed the order after police produced Rafiqul before the court.
The court also rejected a petition filed by Rafiqul’s lawyers seeking his bail.
The court, however, granted him division facilities in jail and continuation of his treatment as per the jail code after his lawyer filed two separate petitions seeking division facilities and the continuation of his treatment in jail.
Rafiqul’s lawyer Mohammad Atiqur Rahman told reporters that they will appeal to the High Court against the lower court’s verdict in the case filed against Rafiqul for not submitting his wealth statement to the Anti-Corruption Commission.
Earlier yesterday, the BNP leader was picked up from Bangla Motor in the capital around 6:30pm, said Dhaka Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner (media) Masudur Rahman. He refused to comment further on the issue.
Rafiqul’s jail sentence came in a case filed against him for not submitting his wealth statement to the ACC.
During a court hearing, Rafiqul, a BNP standing committee member and former housing and public works minister, was also fined Tk 50,000, in default of which he would have to serve three more months in jail. An arrest warrant was also issued against him.
Before pronouncement of the judgment, Judge Sheikh Golam Mahbub of the Special Judge Court-6 cancelled Rafiqul's bail as he had remained absent from the court yesterday.
ACC Public Prosecutor Mosharraf Kajol told The Daily Star that if Rafiqul wanted to contest in the election, he would have to surrender before the trial court and go to jail. After getting a certified copy of the judgment, he would have to move it with the High Court, challenging the verdict's legality.
If the HC stays the verdict then Rafiqul can contest the next general election, Kajol added.
The BNP leader was present before the court on November 7 during the conclusion of the argument.
Yesterday his lawyer Junayed Ullah Soaib submitted a petition saying that Rafiqul could not appear before the court as he was busy with the upcoming national election but the petition was dismissed.
After cross-examination of all six prosecution witnesses, the judge pronounced the verdict. The punishment for the fugitives would be effective from the day of their arrest or surrender, the judge said.
According to the prosecution, it was alleged that the ACC on April 7, 2001, served a notice asking Rafiqul to submit his wealth statement within 45 days of receipt of the notice.
On June 10 of the same year, Rafiqul received the notice but failed to submit his wealth statement within the given time.
Later on September 15, the ACC filed a case against the BNP leader with Uttara Police Station and a charge sheet was submitted against the former minister in June last year.
The court framed the charges against the accused on November 14 last year.