The High Court, on Monday, rejected applications for the anticipatory bail of Ron Haque Sikder, managing director of Sikder Group, and his brother, Dipu Haque Sikder, in a case of the torture and attempted murder of two Exim Bank officials.
At the same time, the court asked the two brothers to provide 10,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) as a fine to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund within two weeks for illegally applying for bail while staying abroad – in Bangkok.
The virtual high court bench of Justice Md Ashraful Kamal also reprimanded senior lawyers Ajmalul Hossain QC, Abdul Baset Majumder and Supreme Court Bar Association's President AM Amin Uddin for defending the Sikder brothers in the case simply because of money.
Addressing the lawyers, the court said, "In your long legal career you know that in order to seek bail in advance the accused must be present in the courtroom or in the country. Even though you know everything, just for money you are fighting for bail in the court for the defendants who fled abroad."
The court mentioned that this was the first anticipatory bail application since the introduction of the virtual High Court bench – which was unprecedented.
Following the court's reprimand, Abdul Baset Majumder and AM Amin Uddin withdrew their names as defense lawyers on the bail application.
However, Ajmalul Hossain QC, who took part in the hearing on behalf of the virtual bail application from London, told the court that he would continue to fight the case.
He said Ron and Dipu left the country for Bangkok in an air ambulance with due permission from the civil aviation authorities.
He said now they wanted to return to the country but could not do so because detectives are continuing to raid their residences to arrest them.
At the hearing, Ajmalul Hossain QC also said he wanted an instruction from the High Court so that the accused could come from the airport, surrender to the lower court and seek bail.
If the court wanted, the accused would be produced virtually and the court would be able to ask them there, he continued.
Earlier on July 2, the Sikder brothers filed the application online in the virtual bench of the High Court. On the night of July 19, the news was published in the media.
On May 19, Exim Bank authorities filed a case against Ron Haque Sikder and his brother Dipu Haque Sikder at Gulshan Police Station in the capital.
According to the case statement, Ron and Dipu kept Exim Bank Managing Director Mohammed Haider Ali Miah and Additional MD Muhammad Firoz Hossain detained in an apartment on May 7. There was an attempt to kill them by firing gunshots at that time.
Mentioning that Exim Bank officials were tortured, the case statement added that they were later released after they signed a white paper.
When the Sikder Group sought a loan of Tk500 crore from the bank, two officials of the lender went to inspect the mortgaged property of the group. This incident occurred at that time.
Then on May 25, with the investigation of the case underway, the two brothers flew to Thailand in an air ambulance, claiming they were sick.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam and Deputy Attorney General Bashir Ahmed opposed the bail application of the accused on behalf of the state.