Deposed President HM Ershad was acquitted of the charge of embezzling income-tax money Thursday, fourteen years after the corruption case was filed, while a plethora of long-pending lawsuits against him is now continuing, reports UNB.
"The prosecution has failed to prove the case," said Judge Malik Abdullah Al-Amin, in his one-sentence judgement exonerating the former army chief who had ruled the country for nine years until overthrown in a mass movement in December 1990.
Ershad, the chairman of the Jatiya Party, apparently was not that worried about his fate, when the judge of the special judge court of Dhaka handed down the verdict.
The now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption filed the case, accusing Ershad and three tax-officials, on July 27, 1992. The investigation officer later submitted charge sheet naming Ershad as the lone accused on December 19, 1992.
It was stated that Ershad, while in power, had paid Tk 7,43,416 as income tax for six years (1983-89). "Later he withdrew Tk 2,76,324 from the income-tax money without submitting any documents."
The same trial court Thursday concluded the hearings on two corruption cases against the former president and two former ministers in his cabinet - Anwar Hossain Manju and Sheikh Shahidul Islam.
In the first case, it was alleged that Ershad and former Energy Minister Manju caused a loss of $79,000 to the exchequer.
In the second case, Ershad and former Education Minister Shahidul Islam are accused of purchasing two ships from Pakistan during the 1988-91 period entailing "a huge loss of public money".
The court fixed August 24 for order in the second case.
There have been reports that the dormant cases against Ershad are being moved for disposal in the process of his party's joining the ruling coalition.