Bangladesh opens trial of former chief justice

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Surendra Kumar Sinha
Surendra Kumar Sinha

Bangladesh says it has began the trial of a former chief justice on money laundering and embezzlement charges, a prosecution lawyer said on Thursday.

A Dhaka court ordered the start of the trial of Surendra Kumar Sinha and 10 others after they were indicted in relation to a bank transaction of 40 million takas (470,000 dollars) in 2016, lawyer Ruhul Islam Khan said.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for Sinha currently living in Canada, and seven other fugitives, and it  fixed  Aug. 18 as the date  to cross-examine the witnesses.

The accused include two of Sinha’s personal aides and six officials from the private Farmers’ Bank, later renamed Padma Bank Limited.

The bank employees were accused of helping Sinha and his aides launder the money through the bank’s channels, eventually moving the funds into Sinha’s personal account, investigator Syed Iqbal Hossain said.

The transaction took place when Sinha headed the judiciary and a sum was sent to buy a home in the U.S. in his brother’s name, he added.

Sinha denies the allegations, saying the government’s prosecution was politically motivated.

He left the country for Australia in October 2017 amid a souring relationship with the ruling Awami League party leaders.

Sinha travelled briefly to the U.S., but he eventually left for Canada and reportedly applied for political asylum there in 2019. (NAN)

Aug. 13, 2020 | 12:08 GMT

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