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‘Zubaida fugitive in view of law, HC makes mistake hearing her plea’

BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman’s wife Dr Zubaida Rahman is a fugitive accused in view of law, said the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

It observed that the High Court also made a mistake by hearing the petition of a fugitive accused and passing an order on it.

The Appellate Division comprising four judges led by Chief Justice Hasan Fayez Siddiqui made the observation in the full text of the verdict of ‘Dr Zubaida Rahman vs State and Others’ case.

Justice Borhanuddin has written the verdict, while three other judges of the Appellate Division–Chief Justice Hasan Fayez Siddiqui, Md Nuruzzaman and Justice M Enayetur Rahim agreed with the verdict unanimously.

As per the judgement, the judicial court did not take cognizance of the charges against Zubaida  in the corruption case. “Where the charges were not taken into account, how did she apply for dismissal of the case under section 561A of Code of Criminal Procedure?” asked the Appellate Division.

And when she filed the appeal without surrendering before the court, she was a fugitive in the eyes of the law. But a bench of the High Court has issued a rule suspending the trial of the case after hearing the plea of a fugitive, said Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan.

If a person or accused is a fugitive, he/she cannot file any writ, criminal case or any legal action except surrender. But the High Court has violated the law by giving more benefits to Zubaida Rahman, he added.

The Appellate Division further said all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law according to Article 27 of the Constitution. Judges of the Supreme Court of the country have taken an oath to conduct justice without fear or bias. In any case, the judiciary must adhere to this principle. The judiciary will not set a precedent that does not apply to everyone.

ACC filed the case against Tarique, his wife Zubaida and her mother Syeda Iqbal Mand Banu accusing them of amassing illegal wealth and concealing information in wealth statements, with Kafrul police station on September 26, 2007. The accused later filed a petition challenging the legality of the case proceedings.

Later in the same year, the High Court issued a rule suspending the proceedings on the application of Jobaida Rahman.

On April 12 in 2018, the High Court gave its judgement dismissing the rule issued to dismiss the case. At the same time, Zubaida Rahman was ordered to surrender before the court within eight weeks.

Zubaida then filed a leave to appeal in the Appellate Division against the judgment of the High Court.

Lawyers say Zubaida, livimg in the UK, is a fugitive in the case and will now have to go to jail after surrendering. She will then be able to appeal for bail.