Dhaka, Sept 2 (bdnews24.com)—A Dhaka court on Wednesday granted bail to Azad Group chairman Abul Kalam Azad in a forgery case relating to possession of government seals and architectural plans. His lawyer said he may be released by the end of the day.
First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ehsanul Haque granted Azad bail on submission of a Tk 50,000 bond.
The case was filed on Sunday by Mazharul Amin, the investigation officer in an attempted murder case filed against the businessman last week.
"The case details did not contain any specific statement on the accused committing any fraudulent acts using the government seal," said magistrate Haque.
Police arrested Azad on Aug 27, following a case filed by CID officer, Golam Sarwar, who accused him of attempted murder. Azad secured bail in the case on Monday, but was jailed the same day in connection with the forgery case.
CID officer, Golam Sarwar, reportedly went to the Grand Azad Hotel, owned by Azad, last Thursday to see the latter about a job for a relative.
Sarwar alleged Azad, being furious at being approached without an appointment, had assaulted him along with several hotel employees putting his life at risk.
Azad was arrested in the early hours of Friday. The investigation officer in the attempted murder case Mazharul Amin filed a forgery case on Sunday morning.
Amin's case statement said two seals, used by government offices, and a design of a high-rise building, were recovered from Azad's office.
The statement alleged the accused had kept these seals in his office with a motive to forge documents.
Two days later he was granted bail in the police assault case, although he was immediately shown arrested on the fraud allegations and returned to jail.
According to Azad's lawyers, the government seal discovered in their client's possession was made in 1995, but the seal produced in court was new, and manufactured using a transparent material not available in 1995.
Defence counsel also alleged CID officer Sarwar filed the police assault case after failing to secure a bribe from his client.
"Azad is a respectable businessman who employs some 2,500 people and their salaries and bonuses in Ramadan will be at stake if Azad is detained further," said Azad's lawyer Noor Hossain Balai.
Balai told bdnews24.com he expected his client would be released by day's end.
Azad's son Ziaur Rahman Azad in a press conference on Aug 29 claimed that his father had been tortured in police custody after his arrest in a "false case".
The country's apex trade body FBCCI has also protested the arrest of a CIP (Commercially Important Person), and Azad's "remand in police custody on charges of assaulting a police officer".
Business leaders, led by FBCCI president Anisul Huq, met the home and commerce ministers Tuesday, asking for a probe. The government formed a committee to investigate circumstances surrounding Azad's arrest, just hours after the FBCCI delegation approached the home minister. The two-member committee, headed by additional secretary to the home ministry Md Iqbal Khan Chowdhury, has been given 15 days to submit a report.