BD Post Report
A Dhaka court on Monday sentenced BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, now serving jail in another graft case, and three others to seven-year rigorous imprisonment each in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.
The court also fined them Tk 10 lakh each, in default, to suffer six months more in jail. The court also ordered confiscation of the 42-katha land bought against the trust’s name.
Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of Dhaka Special Judge Court-5 delivered the verdict around 12.10 noon.
The court started reading out the judgement at about 11.20 am at the
crowded courtroom setup inside the former central jail in capital’s Nazimuddin Road area.
Of the four accused, Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan were produced before the court ahead of the verdict while Khaleda’s former political secretary Harris Chowdhury is yet to be arrested and Khaleda Zia is in prison cell at BSMMU after getting convicted in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.
The court came up with the judgement as the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by Khaleda against a lower court order to try the BNP chairperson in her absence in the graft case.
“Dismissed,” said an Appellate Division full bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain as the matter came on the cause list in the morning. The Dhaka Special Judge Court-5 on October 16 set the date on 29 October
to pronounce judgement in the case as the defence repeatedly refrained from
taking part in the hearing on arguments in the case.
“Khaleda Zia took time for around 40 times during the hearing of the case.
She didn’t appear before the court citing her confinement in another case, even refrained from appearing before court over health reason. One day she
informed the court that she will not appear before it anymore,” Attorney
General Advocate Mahbubey Alam said earlier on Sunday.
He also said “The court at that stage had to set date to hear arguments in
her absence. But none from her 126-member strong defence team appeared before
the court as well, making the court to set date for pronouncing the judgment.”
“Khaleda’s counsels repeatedly wasted time of the court by filing time
plea. They don’t take part in any kind of legal proceedings but plead for
bail whenever the bail period gets finished,” Anti-Corruption Commission
(ACC) counsel Mosharraf Hossain Kazal said earlier.
On October 14, the High Court rejected a revision plea filed by BNP chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, upholding a lower court order that had said it would continue the graft case proceedings in her absence.
The lower court on September 20 passed the order, saying it would hold hearing of the case in Khaleda’s absence as she was ‘unwilling’ to appear at the makeshift court complex inside the Old Dhaka Central Jail.
The ACC filed the case with capital’s Tejgaon Police Station on August 8, 2010, for embezzling Tk 3.15 crore while police on January 16, 2012, filed charge sheet against four including Khaleda.
The other accused are Khaleda’s former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, the then BIWTA director Ziaul Islam Munna and Monirul Islam Khan, former personal secretary of former Dhaka city mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka.
The court framed charges against Khaleda and others in the case on March
19, 2014.
The BNP chairperson is now serving a five-year jail term in Zia Orphanage
Trust graft case.