Bangladesh’s former military dictator HM Ershad, a special envoy of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was today acquitted in a 26-year-old corruption case that involved alleged misappropriation of $237,000, a media report said. Ershad, the 87-year-old former president, was convicted and sentenced to three-year imprisonment by a lower court back in 1992.
The Dhaka High Court today acquitted the Jatiya Party chief of financial irregularities involving gifts worth over Tk 19 million in a case that started in 1991 when he was in office, BDnews24 reported. Ershad challenged the verdict in the High Court. In June 2012, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was made a party to the case.
On March 9 this year, the High Court finished the hearing and fixed March 23 to give its verdict. But it was not delivered as two appeals by the state against the trial court’s verdict were yet to be disposed of, the report said.
The court forwarded the matter to the chief justice, who then assigned a new bench to hear the matter. Ershad’s counsel Sheikh Sirajul Islam told the media that the High Court overturned the trial court’s verdict and scrapped two pleas by the state seeking stricter penalties.
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“I would suggest the ACC should take the verdict to the Appellate Division. The ACC has been informed; it’s their call,” ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said.
After his ouster following a mass movement, a total of 42 cases on various charges were stacked against Ershad. He was sentenced to different terms in jail in three of the cases and served out a total of six years. Ershad was the country’s longest serving president who ruled until 1990.