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Driver at health ministry sentenced to 15 years in prison in arms case

  • Court Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-09-20 13:04:39 BdST

Abdul Malek, a driver at the Ministry of Health who has been accused of earning a substantial amount through graft, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison over an arms case.

Dhaka Metropolitan Special Tribunal-4 Judge Rabiul Alam handed down the verdict in the case on Monday.

The two sections of the case against Malek carry maximum sentences of 15 years each, for a maximum of 30. However, as he will serve the two terms simultaneously, he will only have to stay in prison for a total of 15 years.

REACTIONS TO THE VERDICT

Assistant Public Prosecutor Salahuddin Howladar told the media the state was satisfied with the decision.

“We have successfully proven the charges against the accused,” he said.

“We have been denied justice,” said defence attorney Shaheenur Islam. “We will appeal the decision with a higher court.”

Following the verdict, Malek said: “I have been falsely accused and arrested for having weapons and ammunition. I am innocent. I was set up. RAB did not find anything when they first searched the house. So, where did these weapons and ammunition come from?”

Malek’s wife fainted as she stood outside the court talking to the media.

Malek’s sister screamed: “My brother has been framed in this fake case! I will not go home without my brother!”

“They say my father has so much money!” Malek’s son said. “Then where has all that money gone? Where are the billions my father supposedly had?”

The police on duty eventually escorted the family away from the court as they continued to protest the verdict.    

CASE DETAILS

On Sept 20 last year, the Rapid Action Battalion arrested Malek from his home in Kamarpara, charging him for possessing illegal arms, counterfeit currencies and a variety of other criminal activities.

RAB recovered a pistol, ammunition, and counterfeit currencies of Tk 150,000 in a raid on Malek's home, it said.

RAB Inspector Alamgir Hossain filed two cases against the driver. Police interrogated him in custody for 14 days.

RAB 1 Sub Inspector Mehedi Hasan Chowdhury and the investigation officer for the arms case submitted the charge sheet on Jan 11 this year.

According to the case document, the DGHS driver Abdul Malek aka Badal was "very influential." He had been the president of the drivers' association working for the Bangladesh Government and the president of the workers union of the DGHS for 20-25 years.

He has illegally accumulated a massive amount of wealth through “transfer and employment business” and was also involved in counterfeit currency business, the case document says.

The day following Malek's arrest, the Anti-Corruption Commission said they have been investigating over 50 employees and workers including Malek, who are involved in "endless corruption and irregularities".

On Sept 9, Malek pleaded not guilty in court.

Judge KM Imrul Kayesh of the Dhaka Special Tribunal 1 heard the testimonies of 13 witnesses on Sept 5 and, the next day, the case was transferred to Special Tribunal 4.