The Third Special Judge Court of Dhaka on Tuesday fixed May 25 for the next hearing in the Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust graft cases filed against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and others.
Khaleda’s counsel and also the President of Dhaka Bar Association Masud Ahmed Talukder assured the court that Begum Khaleda Zia will appear before the court on the fixed date.
Earlier, the BNP Chief’s lawyers filed six petitions seeking time, adjournment of the hearing for the day and holding the hearing in the absence of the BNP chief. The defence lawyers appraised the court that Khaleda Zia could not appear to the court due to security reasons, as she was attacked earlier when she was coming to appear in the court. They also told the court that they need time as their senior lawyers are now busy with the upcoming polls of Bangladesh Bar Council.
Lawyers of accused businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed and former MP Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal interrogated the complainant of the case and also Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Deputy Director Harun-or-Rashid in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case. The court recorded his deposition in the Zia Charitable Trust case.
The ACC filed one of the two graft cases against Khaleda Zia and five others for embezzling over Tk 2.1 crore by forming “fake” Zia Orphanage Trust that allegedly existed only on paper. The other accused of the case are Khaleda’s son Tarique Rahman, Ziaur Rahman’s nephew Mominur Rahman, Khaleda’s former principal secretary Dr Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, former BNP lawmaker Kazi Salimul Haque Kamal and businessman Sharfuddin Ahmed.
The ACC filed the other case in 2011 for abusing power in setting up the Zia Charitable Trust, accusing Begum Khaleda Zia, her former political secretary Harris Chowdhury, his assistant private secretary Ziaul Islam Munna, and former combined Dhaka City Corporation mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka’s assistant personal secretary (APS) Monirul Islam Khan.
Bnp leaders complain that these are political cases first filed by the last military-backed caretaker government to put pressure on their party. Similar cases filed against leaders of the Awami League and its allied parties were withdrawn on the ground of their being political, but the cases against the Bnp leaders increased in number over the years. – Court Correspondent