Dhaka – A Dhaka court on Wednesday acquitted the deposed Bangladeshi military dictator, Hussain Muhammad Ershad, of a defecne purchase scam he was accused 24 year ago, officials said.
Metropolitan session judge Kamrul Hossain Molla passed the judgment in a crowded courtroom acquitting Hussain Muhammad Ershad, a military chief-turned President in the 1980s, and two others of a radar purchase deal.
The court said that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations of grafts.
Mir Ahmed Ali Salam, a lawyer of the anti-corruption commission said they will take the next legal course of actions after reviewing the judgment.
Bangladesh’s anti-corruption bureau (now defunct) filed the graft case in May, 1992 accusing Ershad and three others of causing loss of more than 7.8 million US dollars to the national exchequer.
The loss was caused because of the awarding the deal for radar purchase to a US company instead of a French one during Ershad’s tenure in office.
Ershad, the then army chief, captured Bangladesh state power in a bloodless coup in 1982 and ruled the country for nine years in an iron fist until he was ousted from the power facing mass upsurge in 1990.
The trial process remained suspended for more than four years after the investigators pressed charges against Ershad, two former chief of the Air Force – Air Vice‐Marshal (retd) Sultan Mahmud and Momtaj Uddin Ahmed — and Director of United Traders AKM Musa – in 1994.
The court also acquitted the two former air chiefs while the businessman died during the trial process.
Ershad, now the special envoy to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was present in the crowded courtroom when the judge pronounced the verdict.
The former military dictator is also head of a Jatiyo Party, sits on the opposition bench in parliament.
Earlier on January 8, the Supreme Court (SC) directed the lower court concerned to resume and finish the trial proceedings of the case.