The Bangladesh High Court on Sunday postponed, for one week, the hearing of the writ petition filed by Gana Forum President Kamal Hossain against the order of the Tax Appeal Tribunal on tax evasion of 60 mn takas.
A bench of Justice Syed Refat Ahmed and Justice Mohammad Mahbub-ul-Islam passed the order in favour of Hossain, whose lawyer Tanim Hossain Shaon applied for more time. Deputy Attorney General Pratikar Chakma represented the state.
Hossain filed the writ petition last week challenging the order of the Taxes Appeal Tribunal.
The National Board of Revenue claimed Hossain’s law firm in 2018-19 showed its annual income as BDT 10 million against which it paid BDT 7.6 million as tax. In December 2019, the Deputy Tax Commissioner asserted the firm had actually earned BDT 200 million and should pay BDT 60 million as tax and interest as the Gana Forum leader barely discloses five percent of his actual annual earnings in his tax returns.
On December 30, 2019, Hossain appealed to the Joint Commissioner concerned against the order of the Deputy Commissioner, but it was dismissed.
He then appealed to the Taxes Appeal Tribunal against the Joint Commissioner’s order and then to the High Court division as it was rejected.
The tax evasion case has become a blot on Hossain who was projected the alternative to PM Sheikh Hasina by the Islamist opposition in 2018 polls.
Hossain’s political career is marked by a 360 degree volte face — from the Foreign Minister under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he now runs Gana Front which worked out in 2018 an opposition platform Jatiyo Oikyo Front, in which both BNP and the Jamaat- e-Islami, a fundamentalist party comprised of convicted war criminals, were included.
Then, he was accused of betraying the secular values of 1971 Liberation War and kowtowing to the Islamist parties to fulfil his lust for power.
According to his critics, Hossain may try using his stature to avoid questions over his links with anti-liberation forces, but he is neither above law and has some explaining to do over his political swingabouts.
They alleged that the huge undisclosed amount sitting on Hossain’s firm account may reveal dark secrets — huge funds flowing to his accounts after he agreed to be the face of the Islamist opposition during the national polls.
It also remains to be investigated if some of this undisclosed income has flown from foreign sources, with his British son-in-law David Bergman on overdrive to project him as Sheikh Hasina’s alternative with apparent backing from fundamentalist outfit Jamaat-e Islami and its key ally BNP.
After all, Bergman has already earned notoriety of receiving funds from anti-liberation quarters to stop the trial of war criminals, says pro-liberation activists while on the other hand, he might act as the conduit between Hossain and BNP’s current acting Chairman Tareq Rahman, dubbed as the symbol of violent politics in a US cable made public by Wikileaks.