Niko deal AL govt's - Khaleda; charge-framing Nov 14

Niko deal AL govt’s – Khaleda; charge-framing Nov 14

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Dhaka, Nov 8 – A Dhaka Court yesterday fixed November 14 for framing charge against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and some others in Niko graft case. Judge Mahmudul Kabir, judge of makeshift court set up at old Dhaka Central Jail on Nazimuddin Road, fixed the date after the police produced BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia before it from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
On Wednesday, Government issued a gazette notification saying that Room No.7 of the Administrative Building on the Najimuddin Road will temporarily be used as a makeshift court. In the meantime, Thursday was fixed for charge hearing. The trial of Niko graft case against Begum Khaleda Zia is thus being held inside the prison.
Special Judge Mahmudul Kabir of Dhaka’s Special Court No.9 came to the court while some accused also came to this court. Chief accused, Begum Khaleda Zia, under treatment at BSMMU was brought to prison. However, ACC lawyer Mosharraf Hossain Kajal did not tell about this case. Earlier, the trial of Zia Charitable Trust graft case was completed.
On December 9, 2007, ACC Assistant Director Muhammad Mahbubul Alam filed the case with Tejgaon Model Police Station against five persons including Khaleda Zia on the charge huge loss to the national exchequer through an unspecific deal with Canadian Niko Company.
On May 5, 2008, ACC Assistant Director SM Shahedur Rahman submitted the charge-sheet to the court against 11 persons including Khaleda Zia.
In the charge-sheet, the charge was brought for an amount of Tk. 13,777 crore. Besides, Khaleda Zia has been facing the Barapukuria Coal Mine case.
During the hearing, former prime minister Khaleda Zia told the court that she is still sick but was produced before the court.
The then Awami League government struck the Niko deal and her government just maintained continuation, she added.
The BNP chief also said that the incumbent prime minister Sheikh Hasina should also be brought before the court as she also faced a similar case regarding Niko corruption.
“Sheikh Hasina was an accused in the same case; she got an acquittal, but not me. If I’m produced before the court then Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should also be produced before the court in the graft case,” Sanaullah Miah quoted her as saying.
In response to Khaleda’s statement, the court said that Sheikh Hasina has already been acquitted from the graft case by the High Court, so there’s no question of producing her before the court in the case.
The court also said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina is not accused in the case. So, the question of producing prime minister before the court is absurd, the court added.
After that Barrister Moudud Ahmed, another accused of the case appeared before the court and submitted a petition seeking an adjournment of hearing in the case.
But, the court rejected his time plea and told him to take part in the hearing. After a brief hearing, the court fixed November 14 for framing charges against the accused in the case.
Earlier in the morning yesterday, Khaleda was taken to the old central jail directly from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) and produced before the special court at 11.40am.
After completing hearing, the court ordered to send the BNP chief in jail.
On her way to jail from the courtroom, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir had a brief conversation with her.
Later, Alamgir alleged that the government has forcibly sent the BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to jail from the BSMMU with an ill motive to fulfil its political desire.
The BNP secretary general also alleged that the government has taken back their Chairperson Khaleda Zia to jail without the ‘discharge certificate’ from the medical board.
“As per the information we’ve received, the medical board didn’t give her any discharge certificate, and they said she’s very sick and she shouldn’t be taken to jail in any way under her current condition,” he said.
He said that the BNP chief was taken back to the jail ignoring the medical board’s suggestions. The government has shifted her back to the jail and kept her in it out of its political vengeance, he added.
However, the BSMMU told reporters that the medical board allowed her to move.
BSMMU Director Brigadier general Abdullah-Al-Harun said that Khaleda Zia was discharged from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital upon approval from the medical board formed for her treatment.
A black SUV carrying Khaleda reached the old central jail in the capital’s Nazimuddin Road around 11:40 am and she will be kept there.
Several police vehicles escorted her to the old Central Jail from the hospital in the morning. Following the hearing, she was taken back to the jail, they said.
Khaleda Zia was in the erstwhile Dhaka Central Jail’s abandoned building at Nazimuddin Road
since she was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8.
On October 6, she was admitted to the BSMMU after prison authorities shifted her there from old Dhaka Central jail for better treatment following a High Court order.
On October 4, the High Court directed the government to immediately admit Khaleda Zia to the BSMMU and form a 5-member medical board afresh for her treatment.
Later, a medical board was formed headed by Prof Abdul Jalil Chowdhury and she had been receiving treatment as per the board’s suggestion.
Police produced the BNP chief before the central jail following the Law Ministry moved that issued a gazette notification on Wednesday night saying that the trial of BNP chief Khaleda Zia and others accused in the Niko corruption case would be held at a makeshift court in Old Dhaka Central Jail. – Staff Reporter

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