Ex-IOJ MP Mufti Shahidul gets 10yrs
Detained former lawmaker and Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) leader Mufti Shahidul Islam was sentenced to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment for amassing illegal wealth yesterday.
The Special Court-7 also fined the IOJ leader, who has been behind bars since February 7 last year, Tk 10 lakh, defaulting on which will carry one more year in jail.
Judge Sirajul Islam ordered the confiscation of Shahidul’s ill-gotten money, worth about Tk 29.8 lakh. The court said the sentence would be effective from the date of his arrest.
The IOJ leader, who fought in Afghanistan and is accused of having militant connections, was elected to parliament in a by-election from Narail-2 constituency on BNP-led four-party alliance’s ticket.
Shahidul was given the prison sentence under Section 27(1) of Anti-Corruption Commission Act, 2004.
Deputy director of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Golam Shahriar Chowdhury, filed the case against Shahidul and his wife Nadira Begum with Mohammadpur Police Station on August 5 last year on charges of building up illegal wealth.
Following investigation, the ACC pressed charges against the ex-MP and dropped his wife’s name from the charge sheet.
Shahidul was on the first list of 50 graft suspects the ACC published on February 16 last year.
Shahidul, also a Khelafat Majlish leader, was a pioneer in Islamist militancy in Bangladesh and was reported to have close links to al-Qaeda, including its supremo Osama bin Laden.
Awami League (AL) chief Sheikh Hasina once pointed to his militant roots when he was an MP in the last parliament. He was arrested in 1999 during the AL regime for his involvement in bomb attacks on an Ahmadiyya mosque in Khulna that killed eight people.
Following his release, he left the country and reportedly roamed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and some African countries. He also got al-Qaeda training in bomb making. Detained leaders of the banned Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) also mentioned his name as their patron.
On his return home in 2001, after the AL handed over power to a caretaker government, he joined the IOJ.
Surprisingly, he got nomination from the AL-led grand alliance to contest last year’s scrapped general elections following a five-point moratorium of understanding signed between AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil and the Khelafat Majlish.
Shahidul founded al-Markazul Islami, an NGO that provides free health healthcare and ambulance services. The NGO was reportedly founded on suggestions of the al-Qaeda. It allegedly promoted terrorism in Bangladesh under the guise of helping people.
He also set up at least 40 mosques and 13 madrasas and dug 350 wells in his constituency. He became a talking point after he began sacrificing 100 cattle on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha each year.