Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum (BJAF), a forum of pro-BNP lawyers, has strongly condemned a court order that asked the government to confiscate moveable (bank accounts) and immovable (land-related) properties of BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman and his wife Dr Zubaida Rahman following a graft case.
Barrister Kayser Kamal, central Secretary General of the BJAF, issued a statement on Monday regarding the issue.
A Dhaka court on January 5 this year ordered police to confiscate moveable (bank accounts) and immovable (land-related) properties of BNP acting Chairman Tarique Rahman and his wife Dr Zubaida Rahman in a graft case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Judge of the Dhaka Metropolitan Senior Special Judge's Court, M Asaduzzaman, passed the order and directed the officer-in-charge of Cantonment Police Station to submit a progress report on the implementation of the order by January 19.
The BJAF leader said the court order passed on January 5 for attachment of properties of Mr Tarique Rahman and his wife is another step which substantiates the USAID report that questioned the independence of Bangladesh judiciary.
An USAID report published in 2022 said, “The unrealized reforms on clear delineations of powers initiated in 2007, executive control and domination over the judiciary and increased politicization of judicial appointments in the High Court and subordinate courts have further eroded judicial independence and accountability. As a result, the judiciary is not perceived as independent, impartial, and efficient and suffers from low public trust.”
Barrister Kayser said in his statement, “Dr Zubaida was not requested by the Commission to submit any statement of her wealth, and she did not submit any. There is indeed nothing on record of the case connecting her in any manner whatsoever with the wealth statement that Mr Tarique Rahman had submitted from inside the jail.
Neither the FIR nor does the Charge Sheet, plainly read, contain any allegation that Dr Zubaida Rahman aided her husband in preparing the wealth statement that Tarique Rahman had submitted from inside the jail or any allegation of her agency in the preparation or submission of the wealth statement to the Commission.
Despite the tax return by the Dr Zubaida Rahman remains undisputed, the Courts regrettably continued to proceed against her without exonerating her from the charges.”
“Unfortunately, in the past decade, in all the cases against BNP leaders and especially with reference to cases against Begum Khaleda Zia and her family members, Tarique Rahman, Zubaida Rahman, the paths of Constitution, justice and fairness have become questionable. A judiciary must not allow itself to be a tool for legitimizing illegal political actions and must not be subservient to any government,” also read the statement.
On September 26, 2007, the anti-graft body filed the case with Kafrul Police Station against Tarique, his wife Zubaida and her mother Syeda Iqbal Mand Banu on charge of amassing assets worth Tk 48.2 million through illegal means and concealing the information of Tk 21.6 million in their wealth statements.