Barrister Aminul Haque, one of the powerful ministers of the four-party government, was finally sent to jail yesterday in connection with a graft case in which he was earlier jailed for 10 years in absentia.
Aminul, a key patron of banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in Rajshahi region during 2004-2005, was also sentenced to 31 years and six months' rigorous imprisonment for aiding and abetting militants.
Judge Tanjina Ismail of the Special Judge-6 passed the order sending Aminul to jail after he along with his lawyers appeared before the court to seek bail.
The defence submitted three petitions -- one for surrender to send him in jail, another for giving him first-class division in jail and the other for allowing him to go to jail on an ambulance.
The prosecution did not oppose the petition for allowing the fugitive convict Aminul to go to jail on ambulance.
After hearing both sides, the judge ordered to send Aminul to jail directing the jail authorities to give him first-class division and provide him proper treatment as per the Jail Code.
On May 20 last year, the same court sentenced Aminul to 10 years' imprisonment on charges of amassing illegal wealth and concealing information in his wealth statement submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
ACC Deputy Director Syed Ahmed filed the case against the former post and telecommunications minister with Ramna Police Station on December 12, 2007.
In the case statement, the complainant said Aminul showed less value of two houses in Dhaka and Rajshahi he built as a minister. In his wealth statement to ACC, Aminul said he had spent Tk 54 lakh for the construction.
But ACC investigation found that the expenditure was Tk 1.08 crore, of which Tk 66 lakh was illegally earned.
Aminul surrendered to the court after staying two and a half years as a fugitive abroad and applying to the government for withdrawing all the 13 cases against him, reports our Staff Correspondent in Rajshahi.
He purposely patronised JMB militants abusing the police and administration during the BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government. He was eventually handed down 31 years and six months of imprisonment in Rajshahi in 2007 in this regard.
A US-based news service 'Frontline World' in May last reported Aminul's role in the globally focused Siemens bribery scandal. It said Aminul was patronising JMB when he was receiving bribes from the German electronics giant Siemens.
The report prompted incumbent Post and Telecommunications Minister Raziuddin Ahmed Razu to comment that the government would initiate a probe whether the bribe money was used to fund JMB.
Aminul, former lawmaker from Rjshahi-1 constituency, as well as Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu, former deputy minister for land and lawmaker from Natore-2, patronised JMB in the region.
Dulu and Aminul also sat with Rajshahi Mayor Mizanur Rahman Minu, fellow MPs Nadim Mostafa of Rajshahi-4 and Alamgir Kabir of Naogaon-6 do discuss JMB issues.
The militant patrons forced the police, administration and even personal staffs to support the executed JMB leader Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai by sending him public and private vehicles.
Police were asked by the JMB patrons to guard and assist militant operations of rampant killing and torture of people, specially their political rivals.
The militant patrons personally controlled police officials including the superintendents of police in Rajshahi, Naogaon and Natore for their political and personal interest and prevented law enforcers from taking action against militants.
Even former prime minister Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman, the then state minister for home Lutfozzaman Babar and several home ministry officials left the responsibility of the region's law and order on Aminul's whim.
A case is now under trial for the killing of Monwar Hossain Babu of Bagmara in which Aminul is an accused. After the killing on April 1, 2004, Bangla Bhai began his so-called vigilante operations in the region.