The High Court has expressed surprise at how a government official could buy a luxury apartment worth Tk3 crore after 21 years of service.
The court made the observation in its full verdict on the case of acquiring wealth beyond known income against the suspended Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Prisons Bazlur Rashid.
On 23 June, Justice Md Ashraful Kamal's single bench upheld the 5-year jail sentence and fine imposed on Bazlur Rashid. The full verdict of the case was published on Tuesday.
The court observed, "The fact of having crores of taka in cash after meeting family expenses from the salary received from 21 years of service is unrealistic, unbelievable, and defies fiction."
On 23 October last year, Bazlur Rashid was sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment by the Dhaka Special Judge Court-5. Additionally, he was fined Tk5 lakh, and the court ordered the confiscation of the flat he had purchased for Tk3.15 crore in the Siddheswari area of Dhaka in favour of the state.
Bazlur Rashid filed an appeal with the High Court challenging the verdict. However, the High Court subsequently dismissed the appeal and upheld the sentence issued by the Special Judge Court.
The High Court observed that the appellant Bazlur Rashid had consistently provided false statements to the court in an attempt to evade responsibility for the crime.
The court emphasised that when purchasing a flat, buyers typically make payments using bank cheques or pay orders to the construction company. The appellant himself acknowledged the existence of his bank account. The question that arises is why he chose to pay in cash instead of using bank cheques or pay orders for transactions involving crores of taka. The only plausible explanation is that he was unable to deposit the money in a bank, suggesting its questionable legitimacy.
Bazlur Rashid purchased properties in his mother's name using ill-gotten funds, which is a morally questionable act, it further observed.
On 20 October 2019, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) summoned Bazlur Rashid and his wife for questioning regarding allegations of acquiring illegal wealth. On the same day, ACC Deputy Director Md Salahuddin filed a case against him as the plaintiff. Subsequently, he was arrested. Furthermore, the Ministry of Home Affairs suspended him from his job.
On 22 October 2020, the court commenced the trial against the accused.