Bangladesh’s ex-army chief surrenders over graft cases

DHAKA (TIP): Former Bangladeshi army chief Harunur Rashid surrendered before a court on Thursday, days after the cancellation of the bail granted to him and four others in a major money laundering case. Rashid, currently chairman of a private business group, surrendered before the court to seek fresh bail in two money laundering cases, court officials said.

They said Rashid and a director of the controversial Destiny Group appeared before the court of senior special judge Mohammad Zahirul Haque who is expected to deliver an order on their bail petitions later today. Their appearance came weeks after the same court overturned their bail orders and four others issued earlier by a subordinate court for their alleged involvement in siphoning out Taka 3,285.26 crore by cheating investors.

The bail orders of Rashid and 16 others were scrapped after the statutory Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had filed four criminal appeals challenging the legality of the bail granted to the Destiny officials by three lower courts. The ACC on August 13 and September 12 filed the appeal petitions with the court seeking cancellation of the bail.

The subordinate metropolitan magistrates had granted bail to the accused on different dates, although they have no jurisdiction to deal with money laundering cases as per provisions of the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2009. Reports of massive irregularities in the business group earlier this year prompted different government agencies and the ACC to launch investigations against the Destiny’s “shadow business” in the name of multilevel marketing company (MLM) and cooperative societies. Rashid, a 1971 liberation war veteran who served as the army chief in late 1990s, joined the Destiny group as its virtually ornamental chairman several years ago

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