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Bhuiyan, Shamsul Islam behind bars PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 May 2008

Former BNP information ministers Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and  M Shamsul Islam Sunday surrendered to judge's court that sent them to jail in the GATCO scam case .A special Dhaka court sent former ministers Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan and M Shamsul Islam to jail Sunday after their surrender in the GATCO scam case, reports

Metropolitan senior special judge Md Azizul Hoque passed the twin orders sending the BNP leaders to prison, within half an hour of each other.

The court asked the prison authorities to provide them with a division status in jail and proper medical treatment.

Early in the day, the High Court rejected a bail petition of Jamaat-e-Islami leader and former minister Motiur Rahman Nizami in the same case.

Former minister MK Anwar withdrew his bail petition filed with the HC. Shamsul Islam also backtracked on the bail move in the HC but later moved on to the trial court to turn himself in.

The court of judge Md Azizul Hoque Thursday passed an arrest warrant against 12 people. Former ministers M Saifur Rahman, Mannan Bhuiyan, Nizami, Shamsul Islam, MK Anwar and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury were among them.

Saifur Rahman is now in Singapore and Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury in the US, but both have been described as fugitives in the case.

Nizami filed a counter appeal with the Appellate Division challenging the HC verdict that turned down his bail petition. The apex court would hear his petition on May 20.

A pale-looking Bhuiyan arrived in the trial court at 3.25pm.

No senior lawyer loyal to the BNP was present in court to defend Bhuiyan.

Advocate Golam Mostafa Khan, backed by lawyers Iqbal Hossain and Gazi Mokhlesur Rahman, filed his surrender appeal.

Advocate Mostafa told the court that the plaintiff of the court did not bring any allegation against Bhuiyan but the investigation officer put his name on the chargesheet, being "influenced by higher authorities".

Bhuiyan has been suffering from heart diseases, the lawyers claimed.

Some lawyers loyal to the Delwar-led faction of the BNP and BNP workers loyal to Bhuiyan scuffled on the court premises after the lawyers branded Bhuiyan an "agent."

Police used batons to disperse the troublemakers.

Shortly before he was sent to jail in the GATCO case, Bhuiyan urged leaders and workers to shore up the party under leadership of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, keeping all discord aside.

"Unity in the BNP was just a matter of time," he said.

Shamsul Islam arrived in court at 4.20pm, shortly after Bhuiyan had been sent to jail.

About 100 lawyers including Advocate Lutfe Alam, Sanaullah Mia, Masud Ahmed Talukder and Khorshed Alam were with him.

Shamsul Islam's lawyers appealed to the court seeking an order to provide the former minister with division in jail.

The lawyers said they went to the High Court to seek bail but their appeal was rejected.

They told the court that the two different figures of lost money had been mentioned in the case and in the chargesheet.

"Besides, GATCO was still working in the country and the government lauded its work," one of the lawyers said.

A two-member High Court bench of justices Sheikh Rezwan Ali and Md Rais Uddin rejected the anticipatory bail petitions of Nizami. Barrister Abdur Razzak had submitted Nizami's bail plea.

A large number of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami supporters flocked to the High Court to witness the court hearings involving their top leaders.

Earlier in the week, a two-member HC bench of justices Md Mozammel Hossain and Syed AB Mahmudul Haque had initially said it could not accept bail petitions submitted by Anwar and Shamsul Islam.

Following a recent Supreme Court ruling that even the higher courts cannot consider granting bail in EPR cases, such bail petitions cannot be accepted for hearing, the HC bench said Thursday.

Former prime minister Khaleda Zia is at the heart of the GATCO case. The Anticorruption Commission submitted a chargesheet against Khaleda and 24 others to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court for Dhaka Tuesday.

Joint forces arrested Khaleda and her son Arafat Rahman Coco with ties to the case on Sept 3 last year.

The ACC filed the case on Sept 2 with Tejgaon Police Station alleging that GATCO's contract to run the container depot at Chittagong Port was illegal.

The case was brought under the emergency powers rules on Sept 17.

The case record shows that a tender was floated on March 1, 2003 to appoint a contractor for the container depots at Chittagong Port and Kamalapur Rail station.

The accused awarded the contract to GATCO although the company failed to live up to all the conditions.

It is also alleged that the government incurred more than Tk 1,000 crore in losses because of the GATCO deal.

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