Khaleda to face court in Zia trust graft case Monday

Khaleda to face court in Zia trust graft case Monday

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BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia will not appear before a Dhaka court Monday in a Zia Charitable Trust graft case hearing as her two petitions are now pending before the High Court for disposal.
“She will not be able to appear before the Special Judge’s Court in Bakshibazar due to her illness. Besides, two petitions are now pending before the High Court as the vacation bench sent the matter to the regular bench for disposing of two petitions,” Barrister Mahbub Uddin Khokon, one of the counsel for BNP chief told The Independent yesterday afternoon.
Earlier, a vacation bench of the HC said that regular bench would hear two separate petitions filed by BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia, challenging the legality of a trial court order that had rejected her two petitions in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.One petition seeks fresh cross-examination of the investigation officer of the Zia Charitable Trust graft case, while the other wants the case diary scrutinised.
The Supreme Court (SC) is now on vacation, which started on April 17 and will end on May 1.
On April 18, Khaleda filed the two petitions before the HC against the trial court order that had rejected her two petitions in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case on April 17.
Khokon said that Khaleda prayed to the HC to stay the trial proceedings against her in the graft case. Citing from the petitions, Chowdhury said the investigating officer of the Zia Charitable Trust graft case, Harunur Rashid, was withdrawn from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in 2005 for incompetence. Rashid’s statement as the investigation officer in the Zia Charitable graft case is not acceptable, the lawyer added.
On April 17, a Dhaka court rejected the two petitions filed by Khaleda. The court rejected the petitions as it found “no ground”. Lawyers of Khaleda submitted both the petitions before the court in the presence of Khaleda, who appeared before the court set up at Bakshibazar.
After rejecting her petitions, the trial court fixed April 26 for further hearing on the Zia Charitable Trust graft case.
The ACC, on August 8, 2011, had filed the Zia Charitable Trust graft case against Khaleda and three others on charges of embezzling Tk. 31.5 million by abusing power in setting up the charity. The three other accused are Harris Chowdhury, Khaleda’s former political secretary, Ziaul Islam Munna, assistant private secretary (APS) of Harris, and Monirul Islam Khan, APS of former Dhaka City Corporation Mayor, Sadeque Hossain Khoka.
Following the indictment in the case in March 2014, the former premier moved the HC, challenging the  validity and legality of appointing the judge framing the charges. However, both the pleas were rejected by the court. – Staff Reporter

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