The Anti-Corruption Commission now blames businessman Abu Salek, accused of misappropriating about Tk 18.5 crore from Sonali Bank, for making jute mill worker Jaha Alam a scapegoat.
“Abu Salek used to work at the NID project [of the Election Commission]. That's why it was easy for him to commit a forgery. He found a photograph of Jaha Alam which resembled that of him. So he used Jaha Alam's address in a bank account,” ACC Commissioner AFM Aminul Islam told reporters at his office yesterday.
He, however, said the graft watchdog was ready to give compensation to Jaha Alam if the HC fixed it. “We'll accept whatever decision the High Court takes about the compensation.”
Meanwhile, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud yesterday said the long imprisonment of Jaha Alam was regrettable, reports UNB.
“It's unfortunate that Jaha Alam suffered imprisonment without committing any crime. He had to undergo three years of imprisonment,” he said.
The minister made the remarks while exchanging views at the secretariat with the representatives of Directors Guild, an organisation of television drama makers in Bangladesh.
Jaha Alam had been languishing in jail since February 2016 in corruption cases instead of the real accused. He was released from Kashimpur Central Jail-2 in Gazipur early Monday following a High Court order.
He was arrested in cases filed by the ACC for misappropriating huge amount of money from Sonali Bank, while the real accused, Abu Salek, is roaming freely.
ACC Commissioner Aminul yesterday said the matter would not have reached this stage had there not been some negligence. The ACC submitted a report to the court to withdraw the charges against Jaha Alam when the matter came to its notice.
The matter first came to his notice on February 26 last year and they immediately launched a further investigation, he added.
The further investigation of the ACC found Abu Salek's involvement in the misappropriation of the money, he said.
“After finding it, we asked our lawyers to submit a report to the court promptly. We also directed the lawyers not to oppose Jaha Alam's bail petition.”
Aminul claimed that the ACC had taken steps before the National Human Rights Commission launched its investigation into the incident.
In its further investigation, the ACC found that the photograph used in opening the bank account was Salek's, but the address was changed in his NID card. The changed information was provided to the bank.
Salek was from Thakurgaon, but he used Jaha Alam's address in Tangail.
Police later found that there was no person named Abu Salek at that village in Tangail's Nagarpur upazila. Seeing the photo, two local union parishad chairmen said it was Jaha Alam, not Abu Salek.
Later, the ACC investigation officer summoned bank officials who identified Jaha Alam as Abu Salek at its Segunbagicha office.
“At that time, Jaha Alam didn't mention that he was not Abu Salek,” claimed the ACC commissioner.
Regarding promotions of ACC officials involved in the first probe, he said they were promoted considering their performances in other cases.
“If anyone made any mistake willingly, he will not be spared. But if mistakes were made unwillingly, the commission will consider it in a different way,” Aminul said.
He said the ACC would take actions against bank officials if it found that they misguided the graft watchdog.
The ACC has set up a high-powered committee which will submit a report in 20 working days on how Jaha Alam was made an accused.