The High Court has directed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to probe the alleged forgery of a Bangladesh Bank document in the bail application of the wife and daughter of Laksmipur lawmaker Mohammad Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul, who has been jailed in Kuwait on charges of illegal acquisition of assets and money laundering.
The investigation must be completed within two months, said the High Court bench of Justice Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim on Thursday.
Advocate Khurshid Alam, who represented the ACC in court, said the commission will submit its report after interrogating Papul's wife Selina Islam, who is also a lawmker, and her daughter Wafa Islam, their lobbyist Hafeez Ahmed and others.
The ACC filed a case against Papul, his wife, daughter and sister-in-law on 11 November last year on charges of amassing illegal assets worth Tk2.31 crore and laundering Tk148 crore. The accused applied for anticipatory bail on 26 November.
In the meantime, the court ordered the surrender of Papul's wife and daughter after hearing their bail pleas.
But, a document of the Bangladesh Bank was submitted with their application, which stated that an account with a branch of the NRB Commercial Bank did not appear to be involved in money laundering.
As the matter came to the notice of the court, it issued a suo motu ruling, summoning Arefin Ahsan Mian, the deputy director of the Bangladesh Bank who signed the document. He appeared in court and said the document had been tampered with.
However, Advocate Saeed Ahmed Raja, the lawyer of Papul's wife and daughter, claimed that the document was provided to them by NRB Bank.
The court then asked NRB Bank about the matter. On 12 January this year, the bank said it had not provided any such documents. The court then ordered submission of all Bangladesh Bank documents related to the case which the central bank did.
After presenting the documents, the lawyer of the Bangladesh Bank told the court that the documents did not match with the documents provided with the bail application. The documents that were submitted in the bail application were forged, he said, adding that there needs to be an investigation to find those involved in the forgery.
At the hearing, the lawyer of the bail applicants also agreed.
The court then fixed 11 February for delivering the verdict.
On 6 June last year, the Criminal Investigation Department of Kuwait arrested Kazi Papul. It filed cases against him for human trafficking and money laundering. Papul has been sentenced to four years of imprisonment in that case and is now imprisoned in Kuwait.