Arrest warrant against Bangladesh ex-army chief

May 21st, 2008 - 3:41 pm ICT by admin  

Dhaka, May 21 (IANS) A Dhaka court has issued an arrest warrant against former army chief Gen (retd) Mustafizur Rahman, cancelling his bail, after he failed to appear before it in a high profile corruption case. Judge Golam Mortoza Majumder of divisional special judge’s court issued the warrant Tuesday after rejecting the plea of the lawyers for the former army chief who wanted a four-week extension, saying Rahman was seriously ill.

The court fixed May 28 for the next hearing in the case, when charges will be framed.

The case pertains to the purchase of eight MiG-29 combat aircraft. Rahman was part of the committee that decided on it when Awami League’s Sheikh Hasina was the prime minister (1996-2001).

The six other accused, including detained Hasina, were present in the court set up at the high-security Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban complex.

“We prayed for adjournment of the hearing as Rahman is seriously ill. But the judge rejected our prayer and even cancelled his bail. It is inhuman and against the law,” the ex-army chief’s lawyer Shahara Khatun told reporters.

Prosecutor Syed Shamim Ahsan Habib, however, argued that Rahman’s lawyers were delaying the proceedings for framing charges seeking time on one ground or the other.

“The trial proceedings will now continue as the court has rejected the time petition today …if Rahman is not arrested by May 28, he’ll be treated as a fugitive,” he said.

The five other accused who were present in the court are former air force chief Jamaluddin Ahmed, former defence secretary Syed Yusuf Hossain, Air Commodore (retd) Mirza Akhter Maruf, former joint secretary Mohammad Hossain Serniabat and Nur Ali, managing director of Unique Group.

Rahman had a prolonged run-in with the government and the law when he successfully challenged the cancellation of his promotion.

He was promoted the first full general of the Bangladesh Army by the Hasina Government, which was cancelled by the government of her rival, Khaleda Zia.

The court ruled in favour of Rahman and restored his rank earlier this year.

Hasina has denied the charge of any wrong-doing while awarding the contract for the Russian combat aircraft. A parliamentary committee had found no substance in the charges against her.

The case has been revived by the present caretaker government.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |