A case remains unresolved | 2019-07-15

A case remains unresolved

15 July, 2019 12:00 AM printer

One case filed against Jatiya Party Chairman Hussain Muhammad Ershad still remains on trial. The case involves the murder of Major General Abul Manzoor 38 years ago, reports bdnews24.com.

Ershad was acquitted in 42 other cases with his legal battle in 40 cases, said his chief legal counsel Sheikh Sirajul Islam.

The cases were filed against him on different charges after he was toppled through a mass movement in 1990, said his legal team. Ershad was convicted in three of those cases and he served out the sentence in one of them.

The submission of an investigation report on the murder of Manzoor was scheduled for Aug 26, Islam told bdnews24.com. On Jan 22, 2014, Dhaka First Additional District and Sessions Judge Hosne Ara Akhter had fixed Feb 10, 2014 as the date to announce a verdict on the case. But the court ordered a new investigation into the case following an appeal by the state.

Advocate Parimal Biswas, another legal aide to Ershad, termed the new investigation a ‘political game’ against Ershad, saying the opponents did it out of jealousy over Ershad’s popularity. “Witnesses never mentioned Ershad to be involved in the case. We believe Ershad will be acquitted in this case too, if the law follows its own course,” Sirajul Islam told bdnews24.com before Ershad’s death.

Ershad, who was the army chief during the murder of Manzoor, pleaded not guilty to the case.

Ershad died while receiving treatment at the Combined Military Hospital in Dhaka on Sunday morning. Ershad bemoaned the barrage of cases stacked  against him. He tried but failed to take his name off the last remaining case: the murder of Manzoor. “No-one is as unfortunate as I am. No-one has suffered more than me for the party,” Ershad said in an event in 2018.

“The last case that Ershad was acquitted from was the one filed against him for receiving gift items and cash in his Gulshan residence while he stepped down from the post of the president. It was settled two years back in the High Court,” the lawyer said. On Jun 27, Dhaka First Additional District and Sessions Judge Sharif AM Reza Zaker fixed a new date for submitting the further investigation report but the CID could not submit the report. The submission date was then shifted to Aug 26, 2019.

Public Prosecutor Asaduzzaman Khan Rachi appealed for a further investigation into the case on Feb 27, 2014.

The investigation into the case was not proper, so many others were not presented as witnesses, the PP said in the appeal hearing. A further investigation was needed to unearth the truth, he said. The court granted the appeal and ordered the CID for further investigation.

Former President Ziaur Rahman was killed in a failed coup attempt in Chattogram in 1981. Manzoor was the general officer commanding of the 24th Infantry Division in Chattogram at the time.

Police arrested Manzoor after Ziaur Rahman was killed. The same year, Manzoor was shot dead after he was taken to Chattogram Cantonment from police custody.

Manzoor’s brother Advocate Abul Mansur Ahmed filed a case with Panchlaish Police Station in 1995 -- 14 years after the murder, as he received the autopsy report and death certificate much later.