The High Court on Sunday fixed 26 June for pronouncing a verdict on whether Bangladesh Nationalist Party's acting chairman Tarique Rahman and his wife Zubaida Rahman are fugitives and whether they will be able to hire lawyers.
A bench comprising Judge Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Judge Kazi Md Ijarul Haque Akondo fixed the date after conducting a hearing for the third consecutive day.
Tarique and his wife Zubaida had submitted three separate writ petitions to the HC some 15 years ago, challenging a case filed against them for acquiring wealth beyond their known sources of income and concealing wealth in their affidavits.
The HC had issued a rule in this regard at that time. Tariq and Zubaida submitted another three writ petitions against the rule, asking for a hearing.
The HC finally took cognizance of these petitions on 29 May. On that day, the Anti-Corruption Commission's (ACC) lawyer asked the court whether Tarique-Zubaida's lawyer will be able to plead for time.
On 5 June, the first hearing took place, discussing if Tarique and Zubaida can be declared as fugitives and if they will be able to appoint lawyers to stand for them. The same issues were discussed during the second hearing on June 12 and the third hearing today.
Lawyers AJ Mohammad Ali, Joynul Abedin and Kaysar Kamal conducted the hearing. Lawyer Khurshid Alam stood for the ACC while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin stood for the state.
During the hearing, lawyer Khurshid Alam said that Tarique Rahman has been convicted in three cases. Arrest warrant has also been issued against him. These conditions are enough to declare Tarique a fugitive.
Besides, the Appellate Division on 13 April had said in a verdict that Tarique's wife Zubaida is a fugitive. As both Tarique and Zubaida have been declared by the courts as fugitives, they can't hire lawyers to stand for them, said Khurshid.
On the other hand, Tarique and Zubaida's lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali said before the court that the corruption case against his clients is still in its infancy. The complaints haven't been recognised by the court yet. As a result, the time hasn't come for Tarique and Zubaida to surrender before the court.
He added that Tarique wasn't a fugitive when he had filed the writ petitions. Tarique has received bail in the corruption case, which has been upheld by the Appellate Division too. That's why Tarique Rahman can't be declared a fugitive.
Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin said that the Appellate Division has already declared Zubaida a fugitive. That's why she can't hire a lawyer as per the court's verdict.
The ACC had filed the corruption case against Tarique and Zubaida with Kafrul police station on 26 September 2007 for misappropriating Tk4.8 crore. Both of them had filed separate writ petitions challenging the case.