Bnp chief Begum Khaleda Zia has been ganted bail in the two graft cases on Zia Orphanage and Charitable Trust in the special court that had earlier issued arrest warrant for her inabiliy to be present at hearing during the blockade and shutdown of the current phase of movement.Khaleda on Sunday went to the court set up at the Bakshibazaar Madrasah ground and her lawyers submitted petitioon seeking bail. A significant number of policemen were posted on guard in the ares. Her lawyers had made adequate security as the requirement for Khaleda to attend the court as she faced security problems in going to and from the court last time on 24 December.Our court correspondent reported: The court granted bail to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia in Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust graft cases.
Judge Abu Ahmed Jamaddar of Third Special Judge’s Court of Dhaka passed the order on Sunday morning. Other two accused- former BNP lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed were also granted bail in the cases. The court fixed May 5 to record the depositions of both cases.
On the occasion the security around the make shift court area of Bakshibazar of the old city was strengthened, Earlier, the BNP Chairperson sought bail after surrendering to the court in Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust corruption cases.
When the BNP chief reached Bakshibazar, hundreds of BNP and Chatra Dal leaders and activists gathered in and around the area. They were trying to bring out procession at the area but failed to do so following the intervention made by members of the law enforcing agencies.
In a tight security the BNP chief entered the jam-packed courtroom at 10.38am. Following a prayer, the court allowed her to sit on a chair. Her lawyers submitted four separate petitions including bail pleas before the court.
During the hearing Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon, one of the counsels for BNP chief, told the court that the BNP chief is always paid her respect to the law as well as court.
“She did not appear before your lordship for twice due to security reason. Her vehicle was attacked by the miscreants while she was on the way of court on December 24 last year. Hence, she did not appear before the court on February 25 on apprehension of attack,” Khokon added.
After that Barrister Moudud Ahmed, another counsel for Khaleda Zia, told the court the BNP chief is abiding by the law and respectful to the law. She did not appear before the court earlier following the failure of giving her security for in appearing the court. She appeared your lordship today willingly and filed bail petitions seeking bail in the two cases. We are requesting you to grant her bail in the cases considering all aspect, he noted.
Advocate Mosarraf Hossain Kajal, counsel for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), told the court that Khaleda Zia is a respectable person. She has right to get anticipatory bail in the cases. She can get bail in the cases, he added.
Pointing his finger at the BNP chief, Kajal said that if you (Khaleda) come to the court, we feel good and the environment of the courtroom is also looking good when you entered the courtroom. “We want to conduct the judicial proceedings in your presence,” he noted.
After giving condolence to the former prime minister Khaleda Zia for the death of her youngest son Arafat Rahman Koko, Judge Jomadar told Khaleda Zia that he did not want to issue the arrest warrant against her. But, it was issued only to ensure the justice.
There was no intention to send you at jail by issuing arrest warrant. The accused persons have to be present before the court during the trial proceedings. You (Khaleda) must appear before the court at every schedule hearing. If you (Khaleda) do not want to appear before the court in next hearing you can file application through your lawyer, the court added.
The Judge also said that he has no wish to send the BNP chief to jail on her age ground. If she is found innocent she will be acquitted, the judge said.
Later, the court granted her bail and wanted to start the judicial function. But, following another prayer made by Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon, the court fixed May 5 for next hearing on the cases.
Khokon said that they need some important documents which were seized by the investigation officer of the cases from different places.
When Khaleda last appeared before the court on December 24, Bangladesh Chhatra League activists swooped on BNP men, who had gathered in the Bakshibazar area.
On February 25, Abu Ahmed Jamadar of the Special Judge Court-3 of Dhaka issued an arrest warrant against Khaleda Zia, her son Tarique Rahman and another accused in the twin graft cases for not appearing before the court.
In her political career spanning over three decades, this is first time that Khaleda faces arrest on charges of illegal fund raising and embezzlement. She was earlier detained by the joint forces on September 2, 2007, during the Caretaker Government’s tenure and kept behind bar for around a year.
While in detention, she was accused of four corruption cases, including the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission on July 3, 2008. The Special Judge’s Court-3 issued warrants for Khaleda’s arrest in the ACC filed Orphanage case and Zia Charitable Trust graft case filed on Aug 8, 2011.
On August 8, 2011, the ACC had filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing four people, including Khaleda Zia, of abusing power in raising funds for the Trust from unknown sources. ACC Deputy Director Harunur Rashid, also the Investigating Officer in the case, submitted the chargesheet against the accused on January 16, 2012.
The ACC filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case on July 3, 2008 accusing Khaleda Zia, Tarique Rahman and four others of misappropriating over Tk 2.10 crore, which came as grants from a foreign bank for orphans. The chargesheet was filed in the court on Aug 5, 2010.
The cases against her were fied by the last military-backed caretaker government. While cases filed against leaders and activists of the parties in power have been withdrawn on the ground of their being political, those filed against Bnp leaders and activists persist and have increase in number.
Khaleda raimained under an undeclared confinement at her office since 03 January as Police prevented her from going out, at times put the entrance under lock and key and restricted the movement of visitors.- Staff Reporter