ACC, BFIU others can probe allegations against S Alam, suo motu scrapped
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court has scrapped the suo motu rule of the High Court preventing inquiry into the money laundering and offshore investment allegations against the owner of S Alam Group Mohammad Saiful Alam (S Alam) and his wife Farzana Parveen.
The six-member Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Obaidul Hasan passed this rule today, Monday.
The ruling observed that the suo motu rule issued by the High Court had been dismissed. There will be no hindrance for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and Bangladesh Bank to conduct investigations into the allegations.
This ruling was passed after settling the leave to appeal submitted by S Alam and wife Farzana Parveen against the High Court order.
On 4 August last year, The Daily Star published a report, "S Alam's Aladdin's Lamp". Lawyer Syed Sayedul Huq brought the report to the notice of the court and on 6 August the High Court issued a suo motu ruling.
On order was issued to the ACC, BFIU and the police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), for them to investigate the allegations of money laundering and offshore investments against S Alam and wife, and to submit the report within two months.
S Alam and his wife on 21 August submitted a leave to appeal against the High Court ruling. The hearing of the appeal took place on 23 August at the chamber court of the Appellate Division. The court ordered all parties to maintain status quo concerning the issue and fixed 8 January for the hearing of the leave to appeal by a full-fledged bench of the Appellate Division. Accordingly, the issue was raised today, Monday.
Senior lawyers Rokon Uddin Mahmud, Ajmalul Hossain KC and Ahsanul Karim represented the petitioner in court. ACC was represented at the hearing by senior lawyer Khurshed Alam Khan. Lawyer Syed Sayedul Huq, who had brought the report to the court's notice, took part in the hearing.
Speaking to Prothom Alo later, the petitioner's lawyer Ahsanul Karim said, "With the suo motu rule being dismissed, the provisional order is no longer in place. But if ACC or BFIU so want, there is no legal bar to their inquiring into the matter."
Ahsanul Karim went on to say, "The High Court rule has declared S Alam and his wife guilty of misappropriation of funds and money laundering even before any trial. The depositions of S Alam and his wife have not even been heard in this regard. That is why, at the hearing I said that the rule was based on misconceptions and can be dismissed."
Later lawyer Syed Sayedul Huq told Prothom Alo, "The High Court had issued an order to investigate the allegations against S Alam and his wife, and to submit a report within two months. After today's ruling, that order no longer is in place. But ACC and BFIU can take initiative to carry out investigations."