A Dhaka court on Thursday issued warrant to produce BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at the indictment hearing of the GATCO graft case.
The Dhaka Special Judge Court-3came up with the decision after Anti-Corruption Commission’s lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajol submitted a petition for the issuance of a ‘production warrant’ against Khaleda Zia.
The lawyer cited a decree issued by the High Court on Nov 25, which said the graft case against Khaleda must be disposed of within six months. The decree came in the backdrop of a flurry of defense pleas seeking extensions for Khaleda before charge-framing.
Khaleda’s lawyer Masud Ahmed Talukder appeared at the hearing on her behalf on Thursday. Special Court Judge Abu Syed Dildar Ahmed subsequently deferred the indictment hearing until Jan 16. The case was filed against the former prime minister by the Anti-Corruption Commission more than a decade ago.
The BNP chief allegedly caused a loss of Tk 145.63 million to the state exchequer by awarding a container-handling job at Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Dhaka and at the Chittagong Port to GATCO.
The case also accused Khaleda’s younger son Arafat Rahman Coco, who died in 2016.
The ACC filed the case on Sept 2, 2007 during the military-installed caretaker regime and the next day Khaleda and Coco were arrested from their Dhaka Cantonment home.
The case was included under the Emergency Rule Act on Sep 18 the same year.
Khaleda Zia has been in prison since February last year, after being sentenced to 17 years in prison in the Zia Orphanage and Zia Charitable Trust corruption cases.
She is serving the sentences at the old central jail on Nazimuddin Road in Old Dhaka.