Dhaka: A Dhaka court has sent influential Awami League lawmaker Sheikh Helaluddin, also a cousin of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and his wife to jail in a graft case in which the two were tried in absentia, found guilty and sentenced.
Court officials said Helaluddin and his wife Rupa Chowdhury were escorted to Dhaka Central Jail as Special Judge Mohammad Mozammel Hossain rejected their bail plea.
A special graft court in February 2008 during the previous military regime sentenced Helal to 13 years in jail for amassing wealth beyond his known sources of income and
concealing wealth information to the Anti-Corruption Commission. Rupa was sentenced to three years` imprisonment for abetting him in acquiring the wealth.
Helal was also convicted in another case by a separate court in Dhaka and was sentenced to seven years` rigorous imprisonment for extorting Taka 1.02 crore from a construction
On January 12 last year, the High Court granted them bail in the case and stayed all the proceedings of the case for three months but the ACC later filed an appeal against the
HC order with the Supreme Court, which is now pending for hearing.
Helal fled the country along with dozens of controversial politicians as an interim administration took over with crucial army support on January 11, 2007 when the
then President Iajuddin Ahmed proclaimed the State of emergency and the country witnessed the launch of a massive anti-graft campaign.
Helal returned home after the December 29, 2008general elections and later was elected to parliament in a by-election from a southwestern Khulna constituency.