Court at jail to hear: Trial in Khaleda’s absence or not

Dhaka, Sept 12 – A special court of Dhaka set up Wednesday at the old Dhaka central
jail on Nazimuddin Road set Thursday to hold a hearing on the petition filed for extending bail to BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in Zia Charitable Trust graft case. Judge Dr Md Akhteruzzaman of the Special Judge Court-5 fixed the day after the prosecution informed the court about Khaleda Zia’s unwillingness to appear before it.
The judge said the court will hold a hearing Thursday on whether it should continue its proceedings in absence of Khaleda Zia.
Earlier, the court set yesterday for placing arguments in the case. But the BNP Chairperson was not willing to appear before the court when jail authority wanted to
produce her before it.
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Charitable graft case with Tejgaon Model Police Station on August 8, 2011, accusing Khaleda Zia and three others of abusing power to raise funds for the trust from unknown sources.
The three other accused are: Harris Chowdhury, political secretary of the then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia between 2001 and 2006; Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private
secretary (APS) to Harris; and Monirul Islam Khan, APS of former Dhaka city Mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka.
On February 8, the same special court sentenced Khaleda Zia for five years’ rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case and sentenced her son Tarique
Rahman, now acting BNP chairman, and four others to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment each.
The court also fined them a total of Tk 2.10 crore, saying all the six convicts have to pay the fine in equal amounts.
The ACC filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case with Ramna Model Police Station in July 2008, accusing the six of misappropriating over Tk 2.1 crore that came from a foreign bank as grants for orphans. – Court Correspondent