The High Court (HC) Wednesday ordered Brac Bank to give Tk15 lakh compensation to Jahalam – a jute mill worker who was wrongly put behind bars for three years in a loan fraud case.
The HC ordered the bank to compensate Jahalam within a month and to notify the Supreme Court Registrar General office within a week after the payment, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan told the press.
The virtual bench of Justice RM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader issued the order on Wednesday.
Brac Bank was fined as two of its officials identified Jahalam as Abu Salek – who reportedly embezzled Tk18 crore from Sonali Bank.
The HC in its order said no innocent person like Jahlam should be jailed wrongfully in an ACC case in the future. The anti-graft watchdog has also been directed to conduct investigations properly.
Besides, the court asked the authorities concerned to complete departmental cases filed against 12 ACC officials who were involved in the investigation.
The HC said Sonali Bank was not fined as there was no fault found from its end. And the court ordered prompt re-investigations and speedy trials of 33 cases in which the jute mill worker was shown arrested.
After the verdict, Jahalam told the press, "I want the compensation fast so that I can pay back my loans."
Meantime, Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar, deputy attorney general of the court that passed the order Wednesday, told The Business Standard that the HC said two Brac Bank officials played a crucial role in labelling innocent Jahalam as the criminal instead of Abu Salek.
In April 2012, the ACC filed 33 cases over the embezzlement of Tk18.50crore of Sonali Bank.
The ACC filed 33 cases over the embezzlement of a huge amount of money from Brac Bank and Sonali Bank by cheque fraud. The lawsuits were filed against Salek. However, Jahalam was shown arrested in 26 cases even though the police indicted Salek in 26 cases.
Jahalam's misery came to light when a national daily ran a report titled "Wrongfully accused in 33 cases, I am Jahalam, not Salek."
Last year, Amit Dasgupta, a lawyer of the Supreme Court presented the report before the court. Meanwhile, jute mill worker Jahalam had served three years behind bars.
The HC later issued a suomoto rule and heard the explanations of four people, including the representative of the ACC chairman, over the 26 cases.
The HC granted bail to Jahalam and continued the hearing on updates of the ACC investigation.
Lawyer Anisul Hasan stood for Brac Bank while Lawyer Jakir Hossain represented the Sonali Bank. Deputy Attorney General Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar and Assistant Attorney General M Saiful Alam moved for the state.