Late last year, Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) filed three cases of illegal land grabs against Awal and his wife and also imposed a travel ban against them
Hours after a Pirojpur court ordered sending a former lawmaker and his wife to jail, rejecting their bail pleas in graft cases yesterday, the couple secured bail from the same court with its judge replaced.
After initial rejection of their bail pleas, the district headquarters also witnessed demonstrations and roadblocks by the supporters of former ruling party lawmaker for Pirojpur-1, A K M A Awal (Saydur Rahman), also the president of Pirojpur district Awami League.
Law Ministry sources said Judge Abdul Mannan, who first rejected the bail, was actually made to stand released on corruption allegations against him. In response to a Dhaka Tribune phone call last night, Law Minister Anisul Huq said he was looking into the matter and would not make any comment at this stage.
Late last year, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) filed three cases of illegal land grabs, against Awal and his wife, and also imposed a travel ban against them.
As an eight week anticipatory bail the couple secured from the High Court expired, they appeared before the court of District and Sessions Judge Abdul Mannan minutes before midday on Tuesday.
Judge Abdul Mannan rejected their bail petitions and ordered them to jail.
In protest against the court order, supporters of Awal demonstrated on the court premises and in the district town. They also blocked several roads.
Meanwhile, judge Abdul Mannan was stand released, sources at the law ministry confirmed to Dhaka Tribune.
“Following corruption allegations against the judge, he was made stand released and made attached to the law ministry. Next course of development will be decided later,” said a source at the ministry.
Following the development, Nahid Nasrin, joint District and Sessions Judge of Pirojpur took charge of the district court as acting district judge in the afternoon.
The couple applied to the court of Judge Nahid Nasrin and applied for review of the previous bail plea. The court then granted a two month bail to the couple, confirmed ACC lawyer M Munsur Uddin Hawlader.
Asked about the protests and blocking of roads by his followers, Awal told the Dhaka Tribune that people did protest against the bail rejection spontaneously in town and nothing untoward happened there.
“People closed their shops and stopped running their vehicles in the city protesting the first order of court. Later, everything went back to normal after I secured bail,” he said.
When asked about why the district judge was made stand released, former lawmaker Awal, ACC lawyer M Munsur Uddin Hawlader, and public prosecutor Khan M Alauddin of Pirojpur, told the Dhaka Tribune that they had heard about the decision, but were not sure on whether any formal order has been issued on this or not.
On December 30 last year ACC filed three cases against Awal and his wife for grabbing government lands.
According to the case files, AKMA Awal, misusing his power while in office, leased government land providing false information, and built a three storied building there in his wife's name.
Later, that building was rented to Pirojpur Rural Electrification Association. In a separate incident, the couple allegedly grabbed another piece of government land in Swarupkat upazila of the district and built a house there.
The former ruling party lawmaker and his wife have also been accused of taking hold of a half acre plot of government land and building an illegal wall around it in Pirojpur district.
Following the filing of the cases, the anti graft body asked for wealth statements of the couple and it also imposed a travel ban against them on December 24.
Awal, a rice miller and transport sector businessman, got elected twice as lawmaker from Pirojpur.