Dhaka, July 3 (bdnews24.com)—Former MP Nazim Kamran Choudhury, the husband of former caretaker adviser Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, and their two close relatives secured bail from a Dhaka court on Friday, a day after their arrest on charges of forcible occupation of a Gulshan property, assault and death threats.
Magistrate Kanika Biswas granted Kamran, his younger brother Mukim Choudhury and the Choudhury couple's son-in-law Adit Bhagat bail on a bond of Tk 50,000 each.
They were not brought to the courtroom during the hearing and kept in court prison.
Police are looking for Geeteara, who is on the run who was industries adviser to the past military-installed caretaker government and one of four advisers to have controversially quit the interim cabinet.
House owners Dr Mahbubul Islam, a former professor at St. Francis University in Pennsylvania, USA, and wife Farhana Islam filed a case with Gulshan police naming 11 people.
Lawyers for the defendants pleaded for bail and told court that the complainants had illegally asked them to leave the house without renewing the rental agreement and that the accused had been paying the rent through the court.
The case alleged that the neighbours were disturbed by the noise of the generator, but none other than the owners complained, they said.
They lawyers said the argument in the case that the circumstances were not right for the complainants to file the case during the caretaker government's rule was 'wrong'.
They said the democratic government came in January but what did it take them so long to press charges?
The magistrate said the complaints were serious and did not permit bail although the sections under which the charges were pressed were bailable.
Police cited the wrong sections, she added.
Additional public prosecutor of Dhaka Shah Alam Talukder and advocate Sanaullah Mia opposed the bail appeal.
They said the appropriate sections would be added to the case in future.
The accused had installed the generator violating court orders, the lawyers said.
Earlier, a Dhaka bankruptcy court ruled that the disconnection of electricity lines of the accused by the owners was right.
The magistrate said, "The accused are upper-class people. But, why have you occupied the house? Why don't you leave?"
The prosecution lawyers told bdnews24.com that the complainants had rented out the six-storied house barring one-third of the fourth floor in 2002. The agreement expired on Sept 30, 2007, but the defendants did not leave the house.
The owner served an eviction notice and later on Jan 10, 2008 a case was filed, a ruling on which would come soon, they added.
The defendants filed 15 cases against the complainant, who filed eight, the lawyers added.
Police sub-inspector Jahangir Alam told the court that tension will rise there if the accused were out on bail.
The other defendants in the case are their daughter Nazim Farhana Choudhury, Abu Rushd Tareq, Geeteara's brother, Shamsunnahar Tareq, Sakhawat Hossain alias Shahadat, Ripon Chandra Saha, Bipul Hossain and Yar Ali.
Gulshan police chief Kamrul Alam Mollah told bdnews24.com that the three were arrested at Gulshan-1 at around 11:30pm.
Asked whether Geeteara would be arrested too, Mollah said: "We are looking for all the accused in the case."
Mollah said Islam had filed the case on behalf of wife Farhana, who owned the building at 7/A, Road No 41, Gulshan-2.
The Islams said tenant Nazim, owner of Signage and Megnavision firms, and the other accused had been forcibly occupying the property since the expiry of a five-year rental agreement.
The case alleged that in July 2008, the accused forcibly brought a generator onto the premises ignoring the house owner's objections.
The case also alleges that the accused had physically assaulted the house owner and made death threats against the Islam couple.
Farhana Islam had filed a similar case before with the Dhaka District and Sessions Judge's Court in Nov 14, 2007, accusing three companies belonging to the Choudhurys, including advertising firm Adcomm, of illegal occupation.
But the court quashed the case on Jan 13, 2008, on the basis of a report by the then investigating officer saying the allegation was "not proved".
Farhana Islam had alleged that Geetiara, Nazim had rented the house on Road 41 in Gulshan-2 and launched Signage, Megavision and Adcomm. They kept possession of the house even after the rent agreement had ended. Private security firm Group-4 Securities helped Nazim keep the possession, she alleged.
The Bangladesh CEO of the firm, Selim Chowdhury, is a relative of Nazim.
Gulshan police sub-inspector Masud Karim, who is the investigation officer in the new case, quoting the FIR said on Thursday that the Islam couple had filed their complaint again under the new government as Geeteara had been a powerful figure when they had filed their previous case.
In their original case, the Islams alleged that Geeteara misused power as an adviser to aid her husband to continue occupying the premises in flagrant violation of the rental agreement.