Lawyer trashes media reports that said the former BNP leader and his wife went abroad violating a travel ban
Former foreign minister and BNP leader M Morshed Khan and his wife Nasrin Khan left Bangladesh for the United Kingdom (UK) on a chartered flight early Friday.
A security official at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune.
Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul-Ahsan, director of the airport, also confirmed that a chartered plane with two passengers had left for the UK around 1:15am on Friday.
On June 10, 2019, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had imposed an overseas travel ban on then BNP vice-chairman Morshed Khan, who was also chairman of Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Limited.
However, his lawyer Khairul Alam Chowdhury in a statement, issued later on Friday, said that the High Court on August 24, 2017 had cleared Morshed and his wife for overseas travel, after media reports said they left for the UK violating a travel ban issued by the ACC.
The order was upheld later by the Appellate Division too, he said.
There is no restriction on their travel from any other courts as well, Khairul said, adding: "The ACC in disregard of the Supreme Court's orders attempted to restrict the movement of my clients. This is pure contempt of court."
His clients, who have gone to the UK to receive medical treatment, are seriously considering to initiate a contempt proceeding in this respect, he said.
The ACC’s action in June 2019 was a part of its investigation into a case over his alleged involvement in the embezzlement of Tk383.22 crore from the Mohakhali branch of AB Bank Ltd, according to the ACC sources.
The commission’s investigator M Samsul Alam sent a letter to the Special Branch of Police (immigration) for taking necessary steps to prevent Morshed Khan from travelling overseas, as he was indeed trying to leave the country with his family members.
An immigration official said they did not have any information on the travel ban and declined to comment further on the matter.
Meanwhile, An official from the ACC’s intelligence unit told Dhaka Tribune that they were not aware whether that particular case against Morshed Khan was dismissed, however, the travel ban is still in effect and there are some other cases open against him and his family members as well.
On November 5, 2019, Morshed tendered his resignation to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, citing personal grounds.
When the BNP was in power from 1991 to 1996, Morshed left the Jatiya Party and joined the BNP. He was a special envoy to the then prime minister Khaleda Zia.
He became a member of the advisory council and vice-chairman of the party thereafter.
In 2001, he was appointed as the foreign minister after being elected as a member of parliament in the 8th national election.
In December 2007, ACC filed a case against the former lawmaker and his wife for amassing illegal wealth worth Tk1.7 crore and his failure to provide proper information on wealth worth Tk91.34 lakh in his wealth statement submitted to ACC.
In 2008, Morshed could not contest the parliamentary polls due to the corruption case.
Airport security under question
On May 25, two Sikder group directors also left the country by showing false documents to airport authorities.
The incidents have raised questions over airport security.
Mohammad Jainul Bari, the Dhaka divisional commissioner, said: “The whole airport security process is under the supervision of the District Special Branch (DSB), the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB), and other concerned law enforcement agencies. They will be better able to say how these accused had passed the immigration and left the country.”