Trial proceedings in hundreds of corruption and murder cases remain pending for over a year since the transfer of the last judge
Trial proceedings in more than 800 lawsuits, including cases of corruption and murder, have come to a complete halt for want of a judge at the Rangpur Special Judge’s Court.
Special Judge Ahsan Tareq was the last to serve at this court before he was transferred elsewhere on September 22, 2019.
Since then, the authorities concerned have not appointed a new judge despite several applications from the Bar Association to the Law Ministry in this regard.
Around eight years ago, the special judge's court in Rangpur was set up to deal with corruption cases in Rangpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat.
According to court sources, as many as 226 corruption cases are currently pending in the court.
These include high profile ACC cases, including one against the principal of Rangpur Medical College and five others for allegedly embezzling nearly Tk4.49 crore of government funds as well as the case against a former vice-chancellor and three other officials of Begum Rokeya University over graft in appointing staffers.
Apart from this, more than 400 cases, including those related to murders and disappearances, are also awaiting trial.
In this regard, Special Public Prosecutor (PP) Adv Harunar Rashid said: “The trial proceedings of old corruption cases have come to halt for lack of a judge. Hearings of new cases are routinely held by the district judge but he is not able to go over the case files and pronounce verdicts. Although the ACC informed the relevant authorities in writing of the problem, no new judge has been appointed in a year and a half.”
Meanwhile, Rangpur senior lawyer Adv Raich Uddin Badsha said: “The judicial system in the special judge’s court has completely fallen apart as there has been no special judge for a long time.”
He demanded that the authorities immediately appoint judges there.
Akbar Hossain, general secretary of an affiliate committee of the Rangpur Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) said: “We have also drawn the attention of the authorities to the fact that there has been no judge for a year and a half. Criminals are now trying to free themselves of the charges against them in various ways. Justice delayed is justice denied. We want the trials in the pending cases to end through the appointment of a special judge here as soon as possible.”
When contacted, Rangpur Bar Association President Advocate Abdul Malek said that the matter had been brought to the notice of the higher authorities and he hoped that a judge would be appointed soon.