Khaleda’s writ against makeshift court- ACC to be party: HC

Dhaka, May 27 – The High Court yesterday allowed the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to become a party in the writ petition filed by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia challenging the legality of the government’s move to shift her trial in the Niko graft case to the Central Jail in Keraniganj from the now-defunct jailhouse in Old Dhaka.
In response to a petition filed by ACC, the HC bench comprising Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Md Khairul Alam gave the permission to become a party in the petition.
The HC bench also fixed Tuesday (today) for holding a hearing on the writ petition.
Advocate Khurshid Alam Khan, counsel for the ACC, told reporters that the commission got the scope to place its arguments against Khaleda petition following the High Court order.
BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Sunday filed the writ petition seeking a stay on the effectiveness of the government’s notification, which said that the trial would be conducted in a makeshift court in Keraniganj.
On May 12, the law ministry in a gazette notification said that the trials proceedings of 17 cases involving Khaleda Zia, including the Niko graft case, would be held in a special court in the Keraniganj Central Jail in Dhaka due to security concerns.
In her petition, the BNP chief has said that the notification has violated Articles 17 and 31 of the Constitution along with Sections 9(1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The trial of the Niko case in a room in the Keraniganj jail cannot be a public trial and it is against the Constitution and CrPC. Hence, the Gazette is “illegal and unconstitutional,” the petition said.
Earlier, on May 21, barrister Kayser Kamal sent a legal notice on behalf of the BNP chief to the government, challenging the circular on shifting the trials to the court in the Keraniganj jail.
Former Prime Minister Khaleda has been in jail since February last year after she was convicted of corruption charges. Her party claims that the cases against her are politically motivated and accuses the government of plotting to keep her out of national politics – a charge the government has denied.
Khaleda has been receiving treatment at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for various health complications since April 1.
Earlier this month, the home minister said that Khaleda would be taken to the Keraniganj jail after her treatment at Bangabandhu Sheikh MujibMedical University.
The old Central Jail, where she had been kept, will be converted into a museum, he told reporters. – Staff Reporter