HC scraps 2-year jail sentence after 27 years

The suspect was wrongfully indicted on Feb 25, 1993 after the plaintiff named him in a false case, the High Court said

Senior Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 31 March 2024, 09:12 AM
Updated : 31 March 2024, 09:12 AM

The High Court has acquitted a suspect named in a case of cattle theft filed over two-and-a-half decades ago in Nilphamari.

The single bench of Justice Md Ashraful Kamal announced the verdict on Feb 23 last year, scrapping the decades-old jail sentence. The 12-page verdict was published on Saturday.

Huge ‘negligence, irregularities, and wrongful actions’ were found in the case filed against Tofazzal Hossain and in its investigation, the High Court observed. It also mentioned ‘severe negligence and irregularities’ on the trial court’s part.

The judge ordered the Supreme Court Registrar General to mail copies of the verdict to all lower courts for their observation.

Also, the court ordered copies of the verdict to be sent to all police stations across the country to inform of complaint recipients and investigation officers.

According to the case documents, Manik Chandra Roy of Dhobadanga village in Nilphamari filed a case on Feb 25, 1993, complaining about the theft of five cattle with the Sadar Police Station. Saiful Islam and Tofazzal Hossain were named in the case. Investigation officer SI Dabiruddin indicted Saiful Islam, Tofazzal Hossain, and Delowar Hossain following an investigation.

On Jun 23, 1996, the Nilphamari Magistrate Court acquitted Saiful Islam and Delowar Hossain but handed a two-year prison sentence to Tofazzal Hossain. It also fined him Tk 200.

The Nilphamari Session Court upheld the judicial court’s verdict on Jan 31, 2006. Tofazzal Hossain appealed to the High Court for a revision of the verdict. The High Court heard the case and scrapped the verdict and order issued by both courts on Feb 23 last year.

”The Nilphamari First Class Magistrate Court and Session Judge Court issued the order ‘casually’ and they were found to have been involved ‘sheer negligence and irregularities’ that do not suit a court,” the High Court observed.

“The documents showed that rather than the plaintiff, police were far more active in filing a case over the theft of cattle. It was really unfortunate.”

The order issued by the Nilphamari additional magistrate on Feb 26, 1993, did not contain any information about arresting the suspects. But, the order issued on Feb 28 appealed to ‘show the suspects arrested’ again under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

If the suspects were brought to the police station with cattle on Feb 25, how was it possible to arrest them on Feb 27 under Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure? the High Court asked.

“It was evident the case dossier submitted on Feb 25, 1993, was false. The plaintiff filed a false case in an effort to frame the defendant.”