Explanations did not focus on legal issues, did not acknowledge error in granting remand
The High Court on Wednesday said it was not satisfied with the explanations of two lower court judges on why Dhallywood actor Pori Moni had been remanded several times in a case filed under the Narcotics Control Act.
A High Court bench comprising Justice Mustafa Zaman Islam and Justice K M Zahid Sarwar held the virtual hearing on the judges’ explanations.
According to the court, one of the two judges explained the destructive impact of a drug rather than legal issues, while the other judge did not believe an error had been committed in granting the remand.
The court also said the remand order for Pori Moni did not follow the guidelines issued by the High Court and Supreme Court, or the country's existing laws. The next hearing was scheduled for September 29.
One of the two lower court judges described the incident of a Dhaka University student who committed suicide after taking the drug LSD as an example of drug abuse. The HC responded that it had wanted to know the legal explanation behind the repeated remand orders, not an incident of drug abuse.
The other judge explained that in the case of a two-day remand order, he had not intended to deviate from the law and had made a mistake in good faith.
“He does not believe in the error that has occurred here. The High Court has been undermined,” the court said.
In their separate explanations to the High Court, the lower court judges also apologized for their unintended mistakes and prayed to be exonerated from further proceedings.
They said they would be more cautious in future.
Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday again directed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit its probe report in a narcotics case against Pori Moni by October 10.
Metropolitan Magistrate Satyabrata Sikder issued the order as the CID had failed to submit the report yesterday, the scheduled day for submission. It also asked the CID to submit as soon as possible a report on whether or not it would return a private car and other valuables seized from the actor during the raid at her residence.
On September 2, the HC bench had sought explanations from magistrates as to why they had permitted the police to keep Pori Moni in custody for interrogation for the second and third times in the case.
Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), a human rights and legal assistance group, on August 29 filed a petition questioning the continuous remand that allowed the police to interrogate Pori Moni in custody.
Terming the multiple remand an abuse of power during the hearing of the petition on September 1, the High Court condemned the lower courts’ questionable practice of approving remand pleas without following Supreme Court guidelines.
The multiple remand
On August 5, Metropolitan Magistrate Mamunur Rashid granted the police four days to quiz Pori Moni and her aide Ashraful Islam Dipu in the case.
Following the completion of the remand period, Metropolitan Magistrate Debabrata Biswas placed the two on a two-day remand on August 10.
They were remanded again by Metropolitan Magistrate Md Atikul Islam for another day in the same case on August 19.
Pori Moni was released from the Women’s Central Jail in Kashimpur, Gazipur on September 1, a day after the High Court granted her bail in the drugs case.
Prior to the bail hearing on August 31, multiple bail petitions of the actor had been quashed by the lower courts following the request of the police.
The High Court order came after a Dhaka court had set September 13 to hear her last bail plea, prompting the defence team to move the High Court.
On August 4, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) raided Pori Moni’s Banani residence and detained her with bottles of liquor, yaba pills and LSD blots.
A minibar was found at Pori Moni’s residence where she regularly arranged parties, according to RAB.
In a nearly simultaneous raid, movie producer Nazrul Islam Raz and his manager Sabuj Ali were also arrested that day.
RAB said the raids were conducted on the basis of information gleaned from Sharful Hasan alias Mishu Hasan and his accomplice Md Masudul Islam alias Jishan, both of whom were arrested the previous day on charges of carrying out illicit activities through DJ parties.
RAB claimed that Raz ran a ring that used to host DJ parties in upscale Dhaka neighbourhoods and supply drugs, using the parties as a cover.
RAB filed the drugs case against Pori Moni and Dipu at Banani police station on August 6.
Before getting embroiled in this case, the Dhallywood actor had hit the headlines in June after levelling rape and murder attempt charges against several people.