A lower court in Meghalaya on Monday deferred its verdict, for the third time, on former Bangladesh Minister Salahuddin Ahmed who was arrested three years ago for trespassing into India.
Earlier, the court had fixed August 13 to deliver its final verdict in the case but it deferred to September 28 and then to October 15 (Monday).
“The hearing on the matter (verdict in Ahmed’s case) has been deferred due to the absence of the Public Prosecutor,” a court official said . He said the matter is listed on October 26.
Ahmed, the communications minister during the government of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Khaleda Zia from 2001-06, was arrested on May 1, 2015 from Golflink area here in Meghalaya after people alerted the authorities about his movement in the area.
Indian Police have registered a case against him under the Foreigners Act on charges of illegally entering India after he failed to produce his travel documents. He also did not have any papers to prove his identity and citizenship.
Ahmed, who is also the member of the National Standing Committee, the highest decision making committee of the BNP, had expressed his eagerness to return to Bangladesh.
“I am eager to go back to Bangladesh. I want to go back to my country,” he had said.
The 11th national election to elect new members to the Bangladesh parliament will be held this December as the term of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina‘s ruling Awami League party will end in January, 2019.
Ahmed, who has been in touch with his party members, said that the BNP and its allies are hopeful of returning to power if the pre-conditions set by his party for taking part in the national polls are met.
The conditions include freeing of Khaleda Zia and party activists, withdrawal of politically motivated cases, dissolution of the current parliament, reconstruction of of Election Commission, deployment of military during election period along with administrative power and that the elections should be conducted under a neutral non-partisan government.
“If the elections are held under these conditions, we will join the election and we are hopeful that the BNP and its allies will come back to power,” Ahmed had said.
The court had granted him bail on June 5, 2015 with three conditions — that he should not leave the jurisdiction of the court (the state capital of Meghalaya); he should report at the office of the superintendent of police East Khasi Hills district; and appear before the court.
However, the appearance of Ahmed, who went missing from Bangladesh since March 10 this year, in Shillong still remains a mystery as police or the central intelligence agencies are yet to crack how he landed in Shillong.
Ahmed’s family had alleged that some men in plainclothes flashing identity cards of the Bangladesh Police Detective Branch picked him up from a house in Dhaka on the night of March 10, 2015.
Bangladesh Police have officially denied arresting Ahmed, who was made BNP spokesman weeks before his disappearance.