REF: Coco, sentenced by a Dhaka court to a six-year jail term for smuggling millions of taka out of the country, died last Saturday due to cardiac failure in Malaysia. He had been living in self-exile in Thailand and Malaysia since 2008.
A Malaysian Airlines flight carrying Coco’s remains, his wife, two daughters, uncle Shamim Eskandar and Khaleda’s aide Mosaddak Ali Falu on board landed at Shahjalal International Airport at around 11:30am.
More than 200 BNP leaders and activists took the body in an ambulance straight to the chairperson’s Gulshan office around 1:40pm.
A 1000-strong crowd had built up in front of the office from where the former prime minister is spearheading a violent campaign against the government.
The brown casket was taken to a room on the ground floor, while Coco’s wife Sharmila Rahman Sithi, daughters Jahia Rahman and Jaisa Rahman headed upstairs to join bereaving Khaleda.
The body was covered in a cloth after the coffin was opened. Sometime later, a teary Khaleda was brought downstairs by her brothers’ wives Nasrin Sayeed Eskander and Kaniz Fatema. Some of those present there wailed when she entered the room.
bdnews24.com’s Chief Political Correspondent Sumon Mahmud said Khaleda stood speechless for some moments before breaking into a sob.
Only family relatives and senior BNP leaders were allowed in the room. Coco’s in-laws as well as those of his elder brother Tarique Rahman were also present.
The body was kept there for an hour and Khaleda stayed there for around 35 minutes. She prayed for her youngest son sitting in front of the coffin.
Then it was closed and a tearful Khaleda bade bye to her son.
The body was taken to Baitul Mukarram National Mosque for the Namaz-e-Janaza around 2:45pm.
He was arrested along with his mother on Sept 3, 2007 at their erstwhile Dhaka Cantonment home of 28 years.
On July 17 next year, he went to Thailand for medical treatment after being released on parole by the then emergency government.
Coco moved to a rented house in Kuala Lumpur with his family in 2011.
Never appearing too keen to bask in the political spotlight, he was happy to play the second fiddle to his elder brother and their presumed political heir Tarique Rahman who is residing on London.
The Awami League-led coalition that came to power in 2009 decided against extending his parole further.
Coco ignored court summons, prompting the start of trial against him in absentia in a money smuggling case filed by the ACC.
The trial court on June 23, 2011 handed the prison sentence and fined him Tk 190 million for smuggling money to Singapore between 2004 and 2006, when his mother was the prime minister.
The conviction of the youngest child of Khaleda and former military ruler Ziaur Rahman, as a fugitive from justice meant he could not move higher court to overturn his sentence.
But the BNP maintains the charges were ‘politically motivated’.
Khaleda, a three-time prime minister, made a stopover in Bangkok on way to her US tour in June 2013 to see Coco, which turned out to be the last meeting between the two.