BNP candidate implicated under provision that no longer exists
The case was filed under a section of the Special Powers Act that has been abolished long ago.
The police submitted the charge-sheet under the section and gave a supplementary charge-sheet under a new section later after realising their mistake.
Despite not being listed in the case statement, BNP leader and a candidate in 30 December polls Khairul Kabir Khokon was named in the final charge-sheet submitted by the police.
He was detained and sent to jail when he went to the court to seek bail.
Khairul Kabir is the sole BNP candidate of the Narsingdi-1 (Sadar) constituency.
His family and lawyers alleged that the case has been filed deliberately to keep him away from the campaign.
According to police and BNP insiders, 27 BNP leaders and activists were named in a case filed under the Special Powers Act on 8 February. Khairul’s name was not included in the initial statement.
The police submitted the charge-sheet of the case with names of 273 accused where Khairul was enlisted as number 87.
The police submitted the charge-sheet under section 16 (2) of the Apecial Powers Act that was abolished long ago, Khairul Kabir’s wife Shirin Sultana told Prothom Alo.
The mistake was found while receiving a copy of the charge-sheet for the High Court. Later on Saturday, the police realised this and issued a supplementary charge-sheet.
“It took five days for the copy of a charge-sheet of 720 pages. If we could get it earlier; we could have gone to the High Court by now. Instead of electioneering we are now rushing to and from the court,” Khairul’s wife said further.
It has been learned that the section under the Special Powers Act was abolished 27 years ago in 1991. The BNP was in power then.
The section was revitalised by an ordinance to prevent ‘harmful and destructive’ activities during the rule of state of emergency in 2007.
However, after the formation of the Awami League government in 2009, the section did not get any further approval. As a result, 16, 17 and 18 sections of the Special Powers Act remained annulled.
A bench of the High Court directed the inspector general of police to take action against any misuse of the section under the Special Powers Act on 23 July this year.
State prosecutor Fazlul Haque at the Narsingdi court said, there is provision of providing supplementary charge-sheets. “But whether this is legal or not, is a very complex question to answer,” he added.
*This report, originally appeared in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat