A Dhaka court on Sunday sent Haji Mohammad Salim – a ruling Awami League lawmaker from the old part of the capital – to jail after rejecting his bail plea on corruption charges for which he has been convicted.
Earlier in the morning, Salim's lawyer Sri Pran Nath filed a bail plea with the court on behalf of the Dhaka-7 MP.
Haji Salim, whose recent foreign trip for treatment despite being convicted sparked widespread criticism, surrendered to the court after 3pm.
The bail petition mentioned that the ruling party lawmaker lost his speech following bleeding in the brain during a heart surgery back in 2016. He received treatment for the condition at both home and abroad.
"Any accident can happen due to a lack of treatment if he lands in jail," the bail statement added.
In 2007, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against Haji Salim with Lalbagh Police Station for accumulating wealth illegally. In April 2008, the trial sentenced him to 13 years of imprisonment and fined him Tk20 lakh.
Challenging the verdict, the lawmaker then appealed to the High Court (HC), which quashed his sentence in January 2011.
Later, the anti-graft watchdog challenged his acquittal and moved an appeal with the Appellate Division, which quashed the HC judgment in January 2015.
Further, the Appellate Division asked the HC to re-hear Haji Salim's appeal. The lawmaker had been on bail in the case.
Despite the Appellate Division's order, no initiative was taken to re-hear the appeal for a long time.
In March last year, the HC bench of Justice Md Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Justice AKM Zahirul Huq upheld the lower court verdict, sentencing him to 10 years in jail after hearing a petition by the ACC.
At the same time, the Dhaka-7 MP was acquitted of a three-year jail term in the same case filed by the ACC for concealing wealth information.
The HC also reduced the fine imposed on Salim by half to Tk10 lakh. He will have to spend one more year in jail if he fails to pay the fine.
In January 2021, the appeal hearing against the ruling party lawmaker's 13-year jail term began and the HC delivered its verdict in March.
The High Court had directed him to surrender before the Dhaka Special Judge's Court-7 within 30 days of receiving a copy of the verdict.
But he left the country on 30 April, sparking widespread debate among netizens.