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26 Jan 2018   03:03:04 AM   Friday BdST A- A A+ Print this E-mail this

Verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against Khaleda Feb 8

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 Verdict in Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against Khaleda Feb 8

The verdict in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against BNP Chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and four others will be announced on February 8, at a crucial time in Bangladesh politics with next polls round the corner.

Judge Md Akhtaruzzaman of the Special Court-5 in Dhaka on January 25 fixed the date after the prosecution and defence lawyers completed their 16-day closing arguments in presence of Khaleda.

The prosecution sought the highest punishment (life imprisonment) in this case for the accused, claiming that it has been able to prove the charges.

However, defence counsel termed the case “imaginary” and sought acquittal of their clients, saying that the prosecution totally failed to prove the charges.

Apart from the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case, the BNP chief faces 31 more cases. The same court fixed on the day January 30 for holding proceedings of the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.

The cases were filed after the 1/11, 2007 changeover in state power amid a crisis over national eletions. The military-backed interim regime had also sued many Awami League leaders, including incumbent premier Sheikh Hasina. Her cases were quashed through judicial process while those against her party leaders by executive orders as `politically motivated` cases after the AL came to power through December 29, 2008 polls, reports said.

The graft watchdog started the case nine years ago, in July 2008 during the military-installed caretaker regime.

Over a year later, charges were pressed against six people, including Khaleda and Tarique, who serves as the senior vice-chairman for the BNP.

The four others are former BNP MP Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal, businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed, former principal secretary to the PM Kamal Uddin Siddique and Maminur Rahman, nephew of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman.

In March 2014, the trial started after all of them were indicted.

Former MP Kamal and businessman Ahmed are in jail while an arrest warrant is out for Tarique, who has been in the UK for the last nine years and has warrants on him in several others cases.

 

Former bureaucrat Siddique and Maminur Rahman have been tried in absentia.

 

 

 

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