The High Court has wrapped up a hearing on the Anti-Corruption Commission’s appeal against the bail granted by a trial court to bdnews24.com’s Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi and set Dec 1 for a decision.
Until the decision is made, Khalidi needs the court’s approval to travel abroad.
The High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat set the date on Thursday after the ACC sought to scrap the bail granted to the senior journalist.
Lawyer Md Shahriar Kabir Biplob, accompanied by Mohammad Noman Hossein Talukder, represented Khalidi at the hearing. Md Khurshid Alam Khan represented the ACC, while Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik represented the state.
“We have attended all the previous hearings and have not abused the bail,” said Shahriar Kabir. “We only petitioned for more time once and we were present in court at the following hearing. And the bail was upheld.”
The lawyer said the ACC could not provide any justification in its revision petition to scrap the bail order.
At the hearing, the ACC demanded that Khalidi submit his passport to the court. Shahriar Kabir then asked for the matter to be discussed at a later hearing.
“He is a British citizen,” the lawyer said. “Under the law, passports are the property of the respective countries. I would like to look into the law to see whether a passport can be seized without permission from that country.”
After the court proceedings, Deputy Attorney General AKM Amin Uddin Manik said: “The hearing of ACC’s revision petition calling for the scrapping of the bail to Toufique Imrose Khalidi has ended.
The court has set Dec 1 for a decision and Khalidi will not be able to travel abroad without the court’s permission until then, he said.
The ACC started a case against Khalidi in July 2020, accusing him of acquiring wealth from unknown sources, after bdnews24.com announced a Tk 500 million investment by asset management company LR Global in the news publisher in October 2019.
“If you look at the allegations, you'll find that the FIR is riddled with mistakes. There isn't a word of truth in it. This has been done to create confusion among the people and humiliate me," he had said after the High Court granted him anticipatory bail in August 2020.
The ACC then moved the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for an order to block the bail.
In September 2020, the top court dismissed the ACC appeal. “Why are you wasting our time by bringing this appeal to the Appellate Division?” Justice Imman Ali said in a rebuke to lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan who argued for the ACC at the hearing of the petition.
Khalidi sought bail from the trial court in October 2020 after the end of the anticipatory bail granted by the High Court.
Senior Special Judge KM Imrul Kayes granted Khalidi bail at that time. “You rushed to the Appellate Division after the High Court had granted him bail. What’s the use of it?” the judge asked the ACC lawyer at the hearing. Khalidi later secured permanent bail from the court.
The ACC challenged the bail at the High Court in 2021, seeking a revision of the senior special judge’s order. After hearing the ACC’s plea, the High Court on Dec 8 issued a rule asking Khalidi and the state why the bail should not be cancelled.