Covid-19 pandemic situation disrupted normal court proceedings of a large number of cases, including many much discussed and sensational cases.
Some of the cases, including the case filed against former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, are awaiting verdict. The SK Sinha case is in the court at its final stage.
Lawyers and the people concerned expressed the hope that the case filed against SK Sinha, BUET student Abrar murder case and some other cases will be settled this year as the normal proceedings of the court have already begun virtually.
The SK Sinha case is currently in the final stage of testimony in the court of Judge Shaikh Nazmul Alam of the Special Judge’s Court-4 of Dhaka. Director of the Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) Benazir Ahmed testified as the last witness in the court on April 1. Then on July 15, the date was set for cross-examination of the witness. However, the trial process of the case was postponed due to the countrywide lockdown.
Public Prosecutor (PP) Mir Abdus Salam said that the case against 11 people, including SK Sinha, is currently in the final stage of recording evidence.
According to him, ACC director Benazir Ahmed appeared in the trial court to testify in the case. However, the testimony did not end as some accused were not produced in the court from jail in that time. “We hope that the trial of this case will end very soon as the court proceedings have begun,” he added.
Benazir Ahmed said that testimonies of 20 out of 21 witnesses have been completed. The court had set a new date for taking evidence as the accused could not appear in court due to lockdown from Kashimpur jail on the last date when the court was open. If the accused had been brought to the court that day, the testimony phase of the case would have been over by now.
The formal trial of the case began on August 13 in 2020 after the Dhaka court had indicted SK Sinha and other accused on charge of embezzling and smuggling Tk 4 crore taken as a loan from Farmers Bank (now Padma Bank).
The ACC filed the case on July 10 in 2019. On December 4 that year, the commission approved the chargeheet against 11 people.
Four accused in the case -- Farmers Bank’s former first vice-president Swapan Kumar Roy, the bank’s vice-president Lutful Haque and residents of Tangail Shahjahan and Niranjan Chandra Saha -- were granted bail after they surrendered before the court. SK Sinha and three other accused in the case were on the run.
The other accused in the case are- former Managing Director of Farmers Bank AKM Shamim, former SEVP (Secondary Education Development Programme) Gazi Salahuddin, former first vice president Safiuddin Askari, former senior vice president Md Ziauddin Ahmed, and residents of Tangail Ranjit Chandra Saha and his wife Shanti Roy.
The name of one accused has been dropped from the charge sheet following his death. However, former chairman of the audit committee Mahbubul Haque Chishti (Babul Chishti) was made the new accused.
According to the case statement, Shahjahan and Niranjan allegedly got a loan of Tk 4 crore from the Gulshan branch of the bank by providing fake document. The money was transferred to SK Sinha’s account.
The former chief justice had withdrawn the money in cash and transferred it to different places through pay orders on different dates.
Moreover, the accused submitted a deed of 32 decimal property situated in Savar which does not fulfil the terms and conditions of the bank rules.