The High Court has cleared the way for the lower court concerned to resume the trial proceedings of 15 corruption cases filed against former BNP housing and public works minister Mirza Abbas and others on charges of selling 18 abandoned government houses at a fake auction.
The court yesterday lifted its earlier orders that had stayed the cases' trial proceedings at different times in 2008. The bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice Krishna Debnath rejected 15 criminal revision petitions filed by the accused in 2008.
Now, the Special Judge Court 3 of Dhaka will resume the trial proceedings following the HC verdict, Anti-Corruption Commission's lawyer Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan told The Daily Star.
He said the ACC on March 29, 2007 filed a first information report (FIR) with Motijheel Police Station against Abbas, former commerce minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, Harris Chowdhury, the then political secretary to former prime minister Khaleda Zia, three former secretaries and a number of high officials of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) and Power Development Board (PWD).
The accused in connivance with each other sold 18 abandoned government houses at a fake auction at prices much lower than the market ones.
The houses, located in the city's posh areas like Gulshan, Banani, Dhanmondi and New Eskaton, were sold bypassing an open auction, causing a loss of Tk 127.64 crore to the national exchequer.
The ACC later on submitted 15 separate charge sheets to the trial court concerned, turning the FIR into 15 separate cases, the ACC lawyer said.
Most of the accused then filed 15 separate criminal revision petitions with the HC. In the petition, the accused had prayed to the HC to order the trial court to hold the trial proceedings of 15 charge sheets through one case.
The HC at different times in 2008 stayed the case proceedings and issued separate rules asking the ACC and the government to explain why the trial proceedings should not be quashed.
After holding a hearing on the rules, the HC yesterday delivered the verdict.
Barrister Rokanuddin Mahmud appeared for the accused petitioners.