ACC’s move against judge is not acceptable

NEWS reports said former Judge Motahar Hossain, who had acquitted BNP senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman in a money laundering case, is being investigated now by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for possessing ‘huge wealth.’ The facts in the ground however suggest that the ACC probe has a clear bearing with the acquittal of the accused who happened to be the elder son of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in the case which is a widely discussed political case now in the country. Many people tend to believe that the judge may have earned the wrath of the ruling party by giving acquittal to a high value political target, hence he has been taken under the probe.  News reports said that the judge has already left the country before the ACC began looking into the ‘graft allegations’ against him and announced a ban on his travel abroad. He left the country recently as he was alerted by friends in the government. The story said, Judge Motahar had dropped the charges against Tarique Rahman as he did not find enough evidence of his involvement in the laundering of Tk. 20.41 crore to Singapore. The co-accused Giasuddin Mamun was however found guilty and sentenced to seven years imprisonment, besides asking him to pay a Tk 40 crore fine. But Tarique’s acquittal was immediately protested in the court and the government has also filed an appeal to the High Court seeking a review of the judgment. News reports said, the ACC has already called two stenographers of the judge and his drivers to testify on his ‘illegal movable and immovable wealth and involvement in laundering of money abroad’ during his service term. Reports said the judge in his verdict said, “Tarique did not conceal any information of this transaction in his wealth statement submitted to the Anti-Corruption Commission on June 7, 2007. So, the charges against him could not be brought under the Money Laundering Prevention Act-2002. Therefore, he is acquitted.”We really feel worried by the fact as to why the judge in question should come under an official probe only because he may have delivered a verdict which has gone against the wishes of the ruling party. It can’t be accepted that if a judgment is not liked by the government, the judge must immediately face criminal charges or such other harassment. Why one should believe or why the government should take it for granted that judges should only give verdicts which the government likes. If it were the case, it not only infringes on the freedom of judiciary, the right of an accused person to get a free and fair trial also comes under serious scrutiny. We believe if the judge has done anything wrong, the intervention of the Supreme Court could have been the best remedy. But the way the judge has been subjected to probe and harassment by ACC is not acceptable. There are allegations of corruption against many judges.