Former president HM Ershad yesterday told a Dhaka court that the BNP government in 1991 had deliberately implicated him and made him an accused in the gold smuggling case as part of a conspiracy to harass him politically.
Ershad submitted his written statement after he was asked by Judge SM Mujibur Rahman of the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court to explain about the statements given earlier by eight prosecution witnesses (PW) during the trial of the case.
After hearing the statement from Ershad, also chairman of Jatiya Party, the judge fixed November 26 for hearing arguments from the prosecution and the defence.
Earlier, the court recorded statements of eight PWs and completed cross-examination of the PWs.
In his written statement, Ershad claimed that even though the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against him during the trial of the case, the ones willing to humiliate him in front of the society had implicated him in the case. And therefore, he was seeking acquittal of the charges in the case.
On July 17, 1990 (when Ershad was the then president of the country), a team of customs officials held four people including two foreign nationals at Zia International Airport while attempting to smuggle around 3.6 kg gold worth about Tk 2.5 crore into Bangladesh, the prosecution said.
A smuggling case was filed with the Cantonment Police Station the same day against the four — Bernhard Rudiger of Germany, David Anthony Chalmar Chaker of England, then manager of the Zia International Airport Maj (Retd) Ashraf Uddin Sekender and Abu Taher, a security guard of the airport.
Ershad’s name was not in the FIR (First Information Report) that was recorded before the BNP government came to power. Later, on August 31, 1991, the investigation officer (IO) of the case included Ershad’s name in the supplementary charge sheet as an abettor during the ongoing trial.
Rudiger, Chalmar Chaker, Ashraf and Taher were convicted and sent to prison on different terms on May 14, 1992.
The trial against Ershad did not start due to a stay order from the High Court.
Ershad was acquitted and discharged of four graft cases in last August and September amid speculations of his joining the four-party alliance.
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Categories: Bangla, Bangladesh, Bangladesh News, Bangladesh Politics, Daily Bangladesh News, News, Politics