The High Court today rejected a writ petition challenging the legality of cancelling the lawmaker status of Md Shahid Islam alias Kazi Papul, who was a parliament member from the Lakshmipur-2 constituency.
A virtual bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order on Tuesday against MP Papul who was charged with a wide range of allegations, including human trafficking, bribing, money laundering and other forms of corruption.
Barrister Rokon Uddin Mahmud and Barrister Mostafizur Rahman Khan appeared in the court on behalf of the writ petitioner while Deputy Attorney General Barrister Nowroz Md Rasel Chowdhury on behalf of the state.
This is the first time in the history of Bangladesh since independence that a Member of Parliament has lost his post after being arrested abroad and convicted of a criminal offence.
Earlier on 22 February, the Parliament Secretariat issued a notification cancelling the independent lawmaker parliamentary membership of Kazi Shahid Islam Papul. Following this, the Laxmipur-2 constituency was declared vacant and 21 June was fixed as the polling date for electing a new MP.
Last March, Papul's sister Nurunnahar Begum filed the writ petition on his behalf.
On 22 February 2020, the Kuwaiti Arabic daily Al-Qabas ran a report titled "Bangladeshi MP's Human Trafficking Racket" on the front page. Subsequently, several reports against Papul made the headlines both in Bangladesh and Kuwait.
Papul was in Bangladesh at that time as the pandemic broke out. In May 2020, he flew to Kuwait to settle the issue.
But on 6 June 2020, Kuwait's Criminal Investigation Department arrested him from his residence and charged him with human trafficking, money laundering and bribing Kuwaiti officials.
Papul, his Bangladeshi associates and some Kuwaiti officials were put behind bars as the trafficking scam kept unfolding. The authorities also shuttered the Marafie Group in Kuwait.
On 7 July 2020, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Bangladesh filed a human trafficking case against Papul in Dhaka. Two more cases were filed by the CID and the Anti-Corruption Commission against him, his families and accomplices in November and December 2020.
On 26 January, a Kuwaiti court sentenced Kazi Shahid Islam Papul to four years of rigorous imprisonment and fined 19 lakh Kuwaiti riyals or Tk53 crore.