Bangladesh court orders arrest of exiled ex-chief justice

Crime. (File Photo: IANS)

Dhaka:  A Bangladeshi court has ordered the arrest of former chief justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, who is in exile in the US, in a case filed by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission over alleged money laundering and embezzlement.

Special judge Emrul Kayesh issued the order to arrest Sinha and 10 others after examining the charges, chief prosecutor of the anti-graft body Khurshid Alam Khan told Efe news.

“The arrest warrant was issued since he (Sinha) is absconding. The case was taken into cognizance against the offense of money laundering and embezzlement,” Khan said.

“The matter is now within the jurisdiction of court. ACC will now act upon the court order,” he said, adding that the police would have to bring a report to court on the carrying out of the order on January 22.

Given that Sinha is out of the country, it’ll be then when procedures can begin for the issuing of an international arrest warrant.

On December 9, the ACC filed charges to the court against Sinha and 10 others for allegedly siphoning off 40 million taka ($472,000) from the account of a local bank between November 2016 and September 2018.

The anti-graft body began an inquiry in April 2018 against Sinha four months after he resigned as chief justice amid controversies.

Sinha was criticized by several government ministers after he penned down a verdict that struck down the Constitution’s 16th amendment, nullifying the Parliament’s power to remove Supreme Court judges for misconduct or incapacity.

Sinha left Bangladesh on October 13, 2017, allegedly under pressure from the government, and submitted his resignation from abroad on November 10, 2017.

He published a book in 2018 entitled “A Broken Dream: Rule of Law, Human Rights and Democracy” in the United States in which he described how he was forced to leave the country.

Sinha was appointed Bangladesh’s chief justice in January 2015.