Ruling Awami League lawmaker from Cox's Bazar 4 constituency Abdur Rahman Bodi was jailed for three years Wednesday in a case filed for concealing wealth information.
Judge Md Abu Ahmed Jamadar of the Dhaka's Special Judge’s Court 3 pronounced the verdict in presence of the MP. The court also fined him Tk10 lakh; in default, he would have to serve three more months in jail.
The lawmaker, who has earned a bad name for his alleged involvement in smuggling and other criminal activities, was sent to jail after the pronouncement of the verdict. His lawyers said that they would appeal against the judgement.
Authorities took him to Dhaka Central Jail in Rajendrapur, Keraniganj, for processing. He would later be shifted to Kashimpur High Security Jail, Senior Jail Superintendent for Rajendrapur, Jahangir Kabir, told the Dhaka Tribune.
Unstoppable and untouchable Bodi
The judge said although the accused showed his wealth worth Tk9.19 crore in his income tax returns (2013-14), on March 20, 2014 he informed the ACC that he along with his wife and children owned movable and immovable properties worth Tk5.35 crore. Therefore, he gave the statement hiding information of his wealth worth Tk3.84 crore.
On December 2, 2013, the lawmaker submitted wealth statements to the Election Commission showing his wealth worth Tk10.98 crore, hiding information of wealth worth Tk5.63 crore, said the verdict.
MP Bodi was acquitted from the charge of amassing wealth illegally as the prosecution failed to prove the charge during the trial proceedings.
AL MP Bodi now earns 512 times
The Anti-Corruption Commission filed the case with Ramna police on August 21, 2014, accusing the legislator of amassing wealth illegally and concealing information in his wealth statement.
After being questioned by the ACC officials at that time, Bodi claimed that he was innocent and even vowed to step down if the investigators could prove that he had laundered even a single penny or concealed information about wealth in his election affidavit.
ACC prosecutor Mahmud Hossain Jahangir expressed satisfaction over the verdict.
Nasreen Siddique Lina, a counsel for Bodi, said: “We failed to get justice from the court, and will challenge the judgement at the higher court.”
Claiming that the FIR and the charge sheet were faulty, the defence counsel also alleged that the ACC had filed the case to tarnish his image.
Home minister: MP Bodi is innocent
A total of 13 prosecution witnesses including ACC Deputy Director Manjur Morshad, also the investigation officer of the case, gave depositions before the court.
The same court indicted Bodi on September 8 last year and started recording testimonies on October 6.
The property value of Bodi rose to Tk2.88 crore from Tk47.78 lakh in five years, according to his wealth statements submitted to the EC in 2008 and 2014.
Five years back, his yearly income was only Tk2 lakh, which increased to Tk15 crore in 2014.
Few corruption cases see successful convictions in last five years
The charges were pressed against him on May 13 last year. On October 12, 2014, a Dhaka court sent him to jail after he surrendered before it. He later secured bail from the High Court on October 27 the same year.
Formerly a BNP leader, Bodi was mired into a deep controversy in his previous term as MP for his unruly and violent activities. His whole family is involved in yaba smuggling while Bodi is also accused of giving shelter to the illegal Rohingyas coming to Bangladesh from Myanmar.
Bodi joined politics in 1996 and tried to buy a ticket of the BNP for the controversial February 15 election. Failing to get one, he fought as an independent candidate but lost. He finally got nomination from the BNP for the June 12 election the same year but this time his nomination paper was cancelled.
Soon he joined the Awami League. In 2000, when the BNP-Jamaat government was in power, he was selected as an administrator of Teknaf municipality. But he was removed. In 2003, he became chairman of the municipality.
Bodi was arrested during the military-backed caretaker government. He became a member of parliament for the first time in 2008 with an Awami League ticket and then in the January 5 polls in 2014.
He had at least 23 cases filed against him at different times. All the charges against him, except for in two or three cases, were withdrawn by the Home Ministry’s committee that dealt with the “politically motivated cases.”
He has no position in the local or central Awami League units.